The Student News Site of Dr. Michael M. Krop

The Lightning Strike

The Student News Site of Dr. Michael M. Krop

The Lightning Strike

The Student News Site of Dr. Michael M. Krop

The Lightning Strike

We’re stressed, stop the timed tests

Timed tests undermine the intelligence of a student because they do not test a student’s entire competence, rather they focus on how well a student performs under pressure, making it unreasonable to students who succeed in shorter periods of time. 

From a young age we are taught to answer questions quickly, whether it be accelerated reader (AR) or mad minute tests, schools force our brains to work rapidly. Academic institutions make timed tests a staple within the classroom walls and educators have considered speed as an indicator of one’s ability. As a highschooler who has experienced timed tests such as SATs and AP exams, it is extremely frustrating that these tests fall short of measuring our true capabilities. It’s been engraved into our minds that we must perform well under pressure when it is proven that students comprehend material and achieve higher test scores when in a relaxed state of mind.

“A race against the clock doesn’t measure knowledge or intelligence, it [solely] underestimates the capabilities of countless students,” Adam Grant, writer for the New York Times says. 

However, schools still rely on timed tests as a representation of a student’s aptitude. The main problem with timed tests is that students have different test-taking paces. Some students naturally read faster or process math problems quicker than others, ultimately creating a disadvantage for students who prosper in longer periods. 

Timed tests cause slow-paced students to skip over questions that they could have most likely answered in a non-timed setting. It’s not a fair representation of a student’s abilities because it doesn’t accurately portray the amount of time a student spent studying for their exam or what they have learned inside the classroom. 

During an exam, students shouldn’t be concerned about whether they finish all the questions before time runs out. Rather, they should be worried about answering the questions correctly. According to the National Institute of Health, stress can disassociate the brain from an exam and cause students to suffer focus and memory loss. The clock ticking down creates a sense of urgency, leading students to feel overwhelmed while rushing through their exam attempting to answer all the questions. Sophomore Simon Tchira disagrees however.

“I think timed tests are good because it gives students who didn’t study or those who don’t know the material less of a chance to cheat or find other ways to get through the exam,” Tchira says. 

An anonymous student at Krop believes certain types of tests like vocabulary tests should be timed, while content filled tests shouldn’t. 

“A time limit works well with vocabulary tests because they test familiarity and understanding of words, so a student that studied will be familiar with the words and able to answer questions quickly; but, there should never be a time limit on a test that requires deeper understanding and critical thinking.” 

In an ideal exam setting, students should focus only on answering questions correctly, reflecting their understanding of the material. A testing environment that allows enough time for students to carefully read prompts and organize their thoughts will immediately display a major upbringing on test scores. Whether it be AP exams or tests taken inside the classroom here at Krop, educators need to recognize the flaws within timed tests and not make them the main measure of a student’s capabilities.  

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