Do Students Learn or Learn to Take Tests?

Do Students Learn or Learn to Take Tests?

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Do Students Learn or Learn to Take Tests?

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A thought that crosses many students’ mind is whether they are actually learning or if they are learning to take a test and get rid of the knowledge gained after the test. Freshman Heather Page said “Teachers don’t seem to focus enough on helping us improve our academics and care more about our grades than our intelligence.” There are no students that actually enjoy taking tests; tests are difficult, annoying, and often feel intrusive towards our education. However, a study conducted by Henry L. Roediger III, a cognitive psychologist at Washington University, revealed that the secret to learning more isn’t testing less, it’s testing more. Roediger found that taking a test on material can help with the retention of that information and aids students more than studying and restudying the material over and over again. Surprisingly, Roediger found that even if a student’s results on frequent tests aren’t good and they don’t know what they missed on the tests, they still learn more than students who study for less frequent tests. What this means is that students are not learning as much as they could through larger exams, and that a more frequent but smaller test could assist heavily in the retention of information past the test and perhaps even after the class is finished. In the end, although it’s a fairly common belief that testing doesn’t aid and perhaps even impairs a student’s ability to learn, the solution is not less testing. The solution is to test the student more often but on less material. This way, they have the chance to process and retain what they learned over a short period of time rather than having to cram the night before a large exam and not remembering anything after the exam is finished. If Chartiers Valley’s teachers change the way that they handle tests, there will be a noticeable improvement in their performance, making it beneficial for both the teacher and the student.

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