The issue of test scores efficiency has always been topical in the academic community. From one point of view, tests are a way to evaluate the competency of a student objectively. From another point of view, tests provoke stress, and this might have a significant hindrance to the decent performance of a student with a high understanding of a topic. In the present essay, the author argues that even though test scores are an objective way to evaluate students’ knowledge, they should never substitute the points for participation and activity during the classes.
As it has already been mentioned, a test could easily show whether a student is competent or not. The study conducted by Smith and Kubacka reveals that most teachers in schools, colleges, and universities all over the world prefer using tests (12). The main reason for this is test objectiveness (Smith and Kubacka 1). Besides, during a test, all students are put into an identical environment, which minimizes a teacher’s ability to help his or her favorite students. Furthermore, if compare points for a test with the points for participation in a seminar, one could notice that the latter strongly depends on an educator’s personal opinion. From this perspective, it seems that test scores are the best possible option to evaluate students.
In spite of the advantage of objectivity, tests are not flawless. The primary reason why it is not fair to judge the competency of a student only by looking at his or her test scores is that some students are prone to test anxiety. Stankovska et al. explain that students who experience test anxiety «tend to be easily distracted during a test, experience difficulty with simple instructions, and have trouble organizing or recalling relevant information» (158). What is more, the personal experience suggests that even clever and diligent students might fail because of their inability to control their feeling of anxiety before and during a test. From this, it could be inferred that judging such a student by the results of a test is not honest and fair.
For this reason, a competency of a student should be evaluated not only by examinations. A teacher should also pay attention to the extent of a student’s participation in seminars and projects and the quality of his or her homework. At this point, it is interesting to notice that some bright students sometimes feel too shy to participate in seminars and, hence, for them, a test or a group project is the best way to show their knowledge. A teacher should create a study plan in such a way that it would be suitable for diverse students.
To conclude, it is needless to eradicate tests from the learning process because they are a helpful tool to examine the knowledge of a student. However, it seems fairer when the final grade for the course is comprised of several aspects. These aspects include a student’s preparation for the seminars and participation in them, homework, and projects. For example, some students might be shy and avoid asking or answering questions in class. At the same time, other students might be active during the seminars but suffer from test anxiety. This way, test scores should not be regarded as the only way to evaluate a student’s competency and should be combined with scores for other seminar activities.
Smith, William C., and Kubacka, Katarzyna. “The Emphasis of Student Test Scores in Teacher Appraisal Systems.” Education Policy Analysis Archives 25 (2017), pp. 1-19. Web.
Stankovska, Gordana, et al. “Emotional Intelligence, Test Anxiety and Academic Stress among University Students.” Bulgarian Comparative Education Society 16 (2018), pp. 157-164.