With educators and parents feeling strongly that too much time is given to “teaching to the test” and that programs, particularly in the arts, are cut or suffer as a result, many colleges are making standardized test scores optional. The controvery over standardized testing and the stress it causes is continually unfolding.
A recent article in the US News and World Report spoke to the issue of test stress: “Students, too, are stressed out, forced to take tests they fear will determine much of their futures. If you want to really take away a love of learning, reduce it to a number and a ranking. And administrators, under intense pressure to be deemed “effective,” have unfortunately, in some cases, resorted to cheating to make sure the scores are where they arbitrarily need to be.”
While many colleges have now made reporting optional for standardized test scores, tests are not going to go away. Our lives are filled with them on a daily basis: your child falls of her bike and breaks her wrist, a bill you thought you paid is suddenly showing up in collections, your car gets a flat on the freeway. The phrase “life is a test” has never been more true as the daily demands we have to deal with get more numerous and complicated.We’re always being tested and the question is always before us: how are you handling this challenging situation– this test?
We should be teaching our students, from the earliest years, how to handle tests—whether on paper or in life—in a way that is productive rather than destructive. When you are faced with challenging situations—a tests—whether they’re in the classrooom, the boardroom, or the dining room—you can learn to deal with them in a way that is calm, confident and focused. We should be giving our students the tools for dealing with all of life’s tests.