Brady K. Maryland

Brady Kines - Letter to President

Tests are bad.

Dear Future President,

An exam or examination is a test that shows your knowledge or ability in a particular subject. Last year high school we had exams in certain classes once a semester, and they caused a lot of stress to students because there are so many other tests including parcc, SAT/ACT, and other tests inside the classes. Many students across the country do very poorly and these tests are not an accurate measurement of a student's knowledge. Prior to this school year there have been exams at the end of each semester, but those exams were deemed as not accurate and not important, so they were removed. But the issue is now there are big tests at the end of each quarter, which is essentially doubling the amount of tests there were in past years, which contradicts why they were removed in the first place. Exams in high school should be removed because they cause unnecessary stress for students, the questions are unfair, and there are already so many other high school tests as it is.

The stress caused by exams to high school students can be brutal, because all of the focus will be on this one exam, when it should be on all of the classes, and information learned inside the class, not just information that will be on an exam. Balancing homework, classes, sports, and studying for exams “can cause kids to burn out by the time they get to college, or to feel the psychological and physical effects of stress for much of their adult lives” (Gwadz). Adding exams to that mix is just another stressor for students and it doesn’t seem like students need that kind of stress focusing on pointless tests, when they should be focusing on the future. There are many harmful effects from test induced stress, and the main negative effect being many “students turn to heavy drinking, drug or tobacco use to try and reduce stress levels” (Weyrauch). Although exams are not the only cause of teen drug and alcohol use, for many teens drugs and alcohol is a way for them to get away from their stress. But this is unhealthy and a reason for it happening is from exams. High school stress is horrendous and not needed because students should be focusing on college and past that, not just one exam.

High school exams do not show what a student knows entirely, because there can be big things a student remembers that is not on an exam, but tiny little topics that are a huge part of the exam. The questions are unfair and do not show what a student knows. High school exams and questions “do not measure the ability to think deeply or creatively in any field. Their use encourages a narrowed curriculum, outdated methods of instruction, and harmful practices such as grade retention and tracking” (fairtest). These questions are basic and do not allow a student to show critical thinking, while all they can do is remember the answer to a very simple specific question. Most exams are multiple choice tests, which “are weak measures of the ability to comprehend complex material, write, apply math, understand scientific methods or reasoning, or grasp social science concepts” (fairtest). These tests do not fully show what a student has learned throughout the year, and they do not allow students to fully show their creativity and thinking capabilities. These tests are extremely unfair and do not allow students to do their best.

Along with these now quarterly exams, there are also tons of other tests such as SAT, ACT, PARCC, and tons and tons of unit test inside class curriculums. High school upperclassmen are put under immense stress and pressure because of all of the other tests are much more important than a quarterly exam. The SAT “reveals whether your GPA and transcript are accurate representations of your academic ability” (Seigel). The SAT reflects your entire high school performance, while these quarterly exams have almost no impact in comparison.By the end of the school year, students “are so worn out by the barrage of tests we are required to administer, that many of them just guess at the answers without giving any real thought to what is expected” (Hill). Students do not care at all about these tests because there are so many they just do not see the point in trying, and I am definitely one of those students. There are far too many exams and tests in high school, and if something doesn’t change then grades will continue to drop, and students will continue to not be motivated.

Exams in high school should be removed because they cause unnecessary stress for students, the questions are unfair, and there are already so many other high school tests as it is. A former teacher by the name of Ray Salazar stated that “If students already demonstrated their learning in writing assignments, large and small, and took a few multiple choice quizzes to show me if they “got it” it or not, why did I need to give them another 50-item, 45-minute test a day before grades were due” (Salazar). The importance of high school exams is non-existent because students do so much work doing the school year, a test or exam just adds tons of stress to the student, takes away their focus from more important things like their future, and the tests are not accurate because the questions are not representative. Exams are not completely useless, but there are already so much that they are not needed in a high schooler’s life.