Do Tests Really Give Teachers Correct Data?

Source :

Source :

Riley Bucco, Writer

We all know the feeling of walking into a silent classroom, trying not to shed a tear while thinking about the huge test that will be slapped on your desk in a few minutes. Oftentimes students’ minds go blank except for the thought of a fat F on the top of their test. Eyes around the classroom start to shut due to the lack of sleep caused by the stress of memorizing random information. Will most of it be used again or needed in the real world? Probably not.

At this point in education, there are so many other ways to judge if a student is understanding the curriculum. How about an ungraded assessment? A presentation? Even an essay. There is no reason to cause such anxiety among students who for the most part, are trying their best. The fact that the SATs were first invented in the 1920s and we still take them, is pathetic.

For kids with more anxiety, scoring lower on a test is just not fair. Junior Alyssa Thompson said, “One time I knew how to do the math equations but, because it was a test, I got stressed and totally forgot.” Because of situations like these, having tests and quizzes being a large percentage of students’ grades is immoral and insensitive to the mental health of students. 


According to the survey that I created, over 91% of students have experienced a mental block during a test or quiz. Senior Parker Greason explained, “I think this happens a lot. Just because we cram our heads with so much information. We are under so much stress, that when the moment comes to take the test, your anticipated anxiety can cause mental blocks and poor performance on the exam.” Greason explained this problem perfectly. 

Another problem with teachers assigning frequent tests and quizzes is that even if they are aware that anxiety is a factor in students’ results, none of the teachers are providing mindfulness and meditation strategies to help. What is more important, the wellness and mental health of students, or their grade on a Calculus quiz? 

It sounds like Senior Emma Lopata could benefit from mindfulness before assessments, hence her saying, “I think that knowing the idea of being graded on your perfection freaks me out.” Mindfulness and meditation have been proven to greatly improve the stress levels of students, so why is this simple concept not part of the curriculum at Pentucket? 

When Mr. Casey was asked if he has any super students who do not show it when they take a quiz, he said, “For students who are creative, they are awesome writers but do not always test well.” This sparks ideas of possibly in the future, giving students the option on how they would like to be assessed based on their strengths and preferences. For example, if someone is a strong writer, they should be able to choose to write an essay instead of a test, which may cause them anxiety.

A lot of teachers believe that tests and quizzes are more for the teacher to figure out where students are. In this case, why are they affecting students’ grades? If a teacher has not done a good job teaching, their whole class failing a quiz is a lesson for them and should not be averaged into the students’ final grades.


The big question remains; how would it be possible to eliminate tests and quizzes from schools? In reality, the elimination of all graded assessments means that Colleges would need to change the way that they decide to accept or reject someone. More letters of recommendation and effort-based information could make this possible. Although this would be difficult, as research supporting this idea becomes more public, hopefully, teachers can be more aware of these problems which would improve learning methods. 

A student may appear perfectly fine on the outside but on the inside, tests and quizzes are slowly causing their mental health to decline. No one; including teachers, appears to understand or want to help. Let’s stop ignoring this and finally figure out a better system for the health and well-being of all students!