Why standardised tests annoy Indian teenagers?
As soon as a child hits high school, teachers, parents and even their own peers start talking about marks, and how scoring well on tests are so imperative to get into a good college. For most of high school, Indian teenagers slog on, study so that they can do well on tests. I don’t mean that teens don’t have their fun in high school. That they will anyways have. What I am trying to say is many students spend around 5-7 hours at school, another hour or two at tuitions, and then comes home to study. Well honestly, being in 10th grade right now, I’m already exhausted.
There are a few students, who will have all the knowledge but won’t have the words to pen it down on paper. Then there are others who just can’t cope up with studies, and manage to spend most of high school trying to get at par with the class. After this there are other students who find studying for tests boring and unimportant, so they don’t give a damn.
Not everyone is meant to become a doctor or an engineer. Not everyone can do well in exams. Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses. Few teens might be doing exceptionally well in the sports field, and others may be splendid artists. Few might be musical and others can be a dramebaaz. There are so many qualities and layers to a person, which most people don’t even take into account.
Even though many colleges have expanded their horizon and are choosing students into college based on their over all personality and not just their marks, however society simply does not comprehend that.
Parents want their children to do well in school. What does ‘do well’ mean? Doing well in sports, having a large friend circle? No, it means getting good grades. Due to the societal pressure regarding these tests, students have a lot of stress.
Chad Donohue’s 2015 article discusses the emotional toll testing has had on students.
“According to Donohue, he detects signs of depression and anxiety. Heightened test anxiety may affect 20 percent of school-aged children and 18 percent may experience milder forms of it.”
How does society expect an adolescent to do well in 7-8 subjects, whose tests are being conducted in the same time period. People claim that these tests help children grow and help them form a study habit. What they don’t understand is that, in school students don’t need to be taught to be good test takers, they need to be taught how to be a better human. How to be kinder and empathetic. These tests cause stress in students, and sometimes cause more harm than good.
Vanshika, a student studying in class 10 of the Riverside School in Ahmedabad, shared her views regarding this. “Standardised tests do not only create pressure on teens but also creates a lot of completion between each other which further leads to barriers between them. Tests should be a medium for teens to know where they stand, but the standardised tests do not do justice to the actual relevance, but instead pressurises teens.”
Monty Neill, the executive director of FairTest, the National Center for Fair and Open Testing, spoke regarding tests in 2014.
“Shouldn’t these early grades be a time to discover, play, and explore?” Ginger Rose Fox, an art teacher based in Los Angeles, said in another NEA Today article. “We talk all the time about making our kids ‘college and career ready’ — even at such a young age. Let’s make them ‘life ready’ first. But I guess that doesn’t fit into our testing obsession.”
Most of our schooling years go into preparation for life. Everyone wants good grades, so that they can go a good college, get a good job and then finally settle down. So to well in life, people claim that tests play an important role.
What people fail to understand that life does not come in the form of a question paper. The syllabus that life offers does not come in a textbook, and nor will your knowledge be tested on an answer paper. You will have to learn to improvise, be proactive and be hands on. Being a good test taker, does not prepare you for life, in fact it makes one feel low, depressed and uncomfortable, during a time period which is meant to be enjoyed.
People judge others on the basis on their marks they get on tests. This is one of the main reasons teens don’t like tests. The teen time period is like no other. You have fun, make friends for life, chill. It is like the only time before you join the rat race of life outside school. Teenagers can’t handle so much stress. The mind is, apart from remembering facts, meant to make connections and to think and find your opinion on stuff. Tests don’t have an area for creativity or expression of thoughts.
Deeya Sheth, a student studying in class 10 of Ahmedabad International School (AIS) said that – “Tests kill our joy in learning. We know that we only do it so we can score well. We never do it just for our understanding and because we want to do it and enjoy it. They are pointless. They don’t allow us to learn, it’s more of a reflection on who memorises and guesses the best.”
Despite students agreeing to the fact that scoring well in tests is important, in their hearts, they know that they don’t like tests. No one likes giving an exam, especially when you are dealing with other things as well.
Kavya Shah is an intern at SheThePeople.TV