America’s Obsession with Tests

America is in love with testing. There is no doubt about it. In an American lifetime, a person will be tested. And not just metaphorically. He/she will be tested for diseases before birth and tested for personality disorders at toddler age. At grammar schools, there’s the forever-hated( by both teachers and students alike) Common Core state exams, and at middle schools you shall be tested for the SHSAT and Regents exams along with the Common Core. Finally, at high school, there will be tests to apply for college with several complicated acronyms hard to memorize. And et cetera as life goes on, until you die.

But now, let’s talk about the academic tests here. How many of you can imagine a third-grader, who is still nibbling in the oyster of knowledge about essays and equations, when the his/her first state test shows up, and then he/she is laden with extra homework in preparations for the huge test, straining the child’s abilities to learn. Not to mention, the scary thoughts on how to accomplish the multiple choice, short-answer, and dense essay questions in an hour and a half each for three consecutive days. Thank you, America, you’re melting the brains of elementary schoolchildren.

Testing disables the imagination of little kids. According to the article, “Why are American Schools Obsessed With Turning Kids Into Robots?” by Jane Greenway Carr, “How will testing fail America? ‘As the country becomes more standardized in the classroom, it risks eradicating difference among students,’ said Kevin Carey, New America’s Education Policy Program Director, ‘cultivating classrooms of robots rather than unicorns.’ One of the key points The Test makes, according to Carey, is that minimizing difference isn’t necessarily the same thing as minimizing ignorance.” it seems that the worthiness of students is only measured by intelligence, which is important to use in the future, but creativity and variety matter as much as routine. Just because our phones are computers, our kids don’t have to. In the same article, it mentions, “…Yet for Maurice Sykes, author of Doing the Right Thing for Children: Eight Qualities of Leadership, pursuing equality in education isn’t about finding the right way or wrong way to test kids—it’s about reconsidering how society envisions children overall. Based on the current obsession with testing, “our vision of children is that we can assess their development like an assembly line,” declared Sykes,”  Children seem to sound like claylike objects that testing can shape into identical clones of kids who simply follow the directions correctly and efficiently.

But seriously, who is the person who is going to succeed: an accountant with a mind only for printed-out instructions, or a businessperson who is capable of changing all the rules to the right direction and smashing borderlines. Um, the latter, people!

However, maybe we are a little shortsighted on this side of the argument. Let’s think of why these tests are important to us, because let’s admit it: just like vegetables, the tests are nasty but good for us.  Let us start for college applications. America is a competitive country(remember the Cold War?). And the American dream festers in the heart of every American alive. Perhaps what the colleges are trying to do is that the are trying to put our abilities to the test (get it?). Doesn’t everybody want a scholarship so they won’t have to pay a hundred thousand dollars of tuition? Colleges are doing so to see who gets in, and who doesn’t. And out of those who do, who is the one waving around the golden ticket that says, “Don’t worry, your college has been paid for.”? Princeton is famous for its generous scholarships to its lucky students. And every high school student craves at least one of the really sophisticated-sounding colleges like Yale, Harvard, and Columbia. We guess it is all a matter of the ambitious figures that America is always flaunting in history. Doesn’t everybody want to be somebody with a college certificate and is rich and famous?

Perhaps lifetime goals don’t stick in to the issue of the tests. Perhaps the testing is according to our lifestyles. In the present technology age, it is a commonplace sight for a child to be glued to a television and video games for hours straight, both of which, we know, are bad habits. Such activities can discourage the use of the brain and may hurt us in the future. Perhaps the tests are so that we may be encouraged to get off the lazy chair and hit the books. We all know it is imperative to keep our brains sharp and workable. By noticing how stuck we are to entertainment nowadays, perhaps the schools are trying to assert their importance on children by these tests that are our bridges to success.

In conclusion, what is your opinion about America’s increased testing crave. Is it deleterious, or is it beneficial? Please share this online, and state your opinions in the Comments section. Good luck!

From, Coffeecara

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