By Emma Van Riper ’20
In preparation for a test, all you can do as a student is study your hardest in hopes for a good grade. But, no matter the subject, large tests overwhelm students due to their significant impact on their grade.
Spacing out studying would be most beneficial, but realistically, that just doesn’t happen. I find that with hours of homework piled on every day at school, the expectation to study up to a week in advance for a test is impractical.
Cramming the night or two before an assessment not only is time-consuming but doesn’t benefit students in the long run because they try to purely memorize the material instead of learning it as it is taught.
I think that having smaller quizzes more frequently as opposed to fewer large tests would benefit students. Sure, there are quizzes along the way leading up to a large test, but that test with compiled information from a unit isn’t a student’s true understanding of the material as they learned it along the way.
According to an article from Michigan State University, “While adding just one test to a class does indeed improve final exam scores, it turns out that more frequent, graded exercises, in general, improve learning outcomes for students. Even better – if these exercises are low stakes, they can improve learning outcomes without increasing student anxiety.”
As our administration continues to make efforts to relieve student stress, adding more and more large tests to a student’s workload doesn’t help.
Many students also prefer projects over tests because they allow students to conduct valuable research and are then able to present that information in an interesting way. I think students learn more this way then trying to memorize what will be on the test, where they forget what they had to know for it the next day.
The article “Why Is Project-Based Learning Important?” explains how, “PBL addresses these differences because students must use all modalities in the process of researching and solving a problem, then communicating the solutions. When children are interested in what they are doing and are able to use their areas of strength, they achieve at a higher level.”
Although some students want what will be easiest for them to accomplish, others truly want what will be most beneficial to their learning. I think that smaller quizzes more frequently and occasional projects are a mix of what is easier than large tests and what will enhance the most learning.
I think that large tests overall just aren’t as beneficial to a student’s learning compared to smaller quizzes because they don’t represent a student’s understanding of the material as well.
So next time you’re cramming for a big test, think about how we should push for smaller quizzes instead of large assessments so that you can eliminate some stress and can actually understand the material.