Opinion

Testing Students’ Limits

OWEN TERRY

STAFF WRITER

 

  The same thing happens countless times: I have three important tests in the span of one or two days, each of which I need hours to prepare for. With my busy schedule, the only way I can find time to study for all of them is by staying up late. There is so much to do that I end up at school the next day without having gotten enough sleep or being completely ready for any of the tests. Because of this, I do not perform as well as I could have. Even though my test score is designed to reflect how well I understood the material, it now shows that I had too many other commitments to fully commit myself to studying and performing to the best of my abilities. This unfairly causes my grade to drop in all of those classes in part because of a lack of communication between teachers whose tests overlap.

  According to Time Magazine, only 15 percent of teenage students regularly get the recommended amount of sleep, about nine hours. This statistic is typically blamed on teenagers themselves, even though it is not always their fault. With school starting so early in the morning, nine hours is an unrealistic target when students frequently have to deal with overlapping tests. According to the National Sleep Foundation, students with poor grades get significantly less sleep than those with good grades. Therefore, overlapping tests can cause lower grades, not only because students have trouble preparing for multiple tests at once, but also because they cause a loss of sleep.

  Having many tests close together causes students to have trouble retaining information for all of them at the same time. This results in poor performance on tests that only represents how many other tests the student had around the same time, rather than how much information the student mastered. This is unfair to the students, which is why changes need to be made.

  Making changes may seem daunting, but there are a few systems that could be implemented to make students’ lives easier relatively quickly and efficiently. Teachers could confirm with other teachers of the same grade before scheduling a test, so they know their students don’t have conflicts. In the past, I have had a few teachers who would always make sure no other teachers had any tests scheduled on their test days, and I would always find myself much more prepared for their classes.

  Some argue that it is unrealistic to implement a system to prevent multiple tests close together, considering how the difficulty of classes skyrockets as students go up in grade levels. While this is a point to be considered, there is a way that overlap could be avoided despite the necessity for high school classes to give a lot of tests. Students burdened with many tests could be allowed to ask for some of those tests to be taken at a later date. This way, teachers would not have to juggle test schedules with all of their other responsibilities. It would be solely up to the students to keep their schedules balanced.

  A little bit of leniency and planning ahead would have numerous benefits for Pinewood students. Grades, health, and overall happiness are only a few of the things that improve with change regarding overlapping tests.

 

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