Are test results the only solid measurement of learning?

Have exams become the sole barometer of our competencies and knowledge? As students’ grades are tied to high-stakes tests, students come to fear tests because every failure or underperformance can have significant repercussions, in terms of grade and future goals. When students fail in high-stakes exams, they may feel like their academic potential is diminished and their morale is reduced.

Tests don’t necessarily reflect a student’s IQ or talents, but students are forced into adopting this mindset when these tests are the primary ticket to college or a new job. This is treatable. Disassociating test score with overall student performance would remind students that tests are only part of their academic story. A test partially examines student knowledge and as such, it should only be part of the overall student performance assessment.

Educators and shareholders need to empower students through tests and not disarm them. Students need to see studying for a test as a process for learning rather than a pursuit of the highest grade. Students ought to have learning ambitions and not performance goals. The focus should shift from doing well in a test, to acquiring knowledge and skills one can put into practice.

The current educational system favors the positive-performance of high-stakes exams and students cannot help but follow. This is why students often resort to cheating because a high-stakes exam is by definition a make or break deal, rather than an informal assessment of a student’s learning.

Educating students that exams are not the only way they can express their intelligence, will help them build a more productive and constructive relationship with test taking.

Of course tests are essential, it’s what assesses our knowledge and suitability for higher education or a promotion. We shouldn’t however, lose sight of the fact that tests are part of learning rather than the goal per se. Tests help students see what studying methods work, what are their weaknesses and what they’re particularly great at. Nurturing this mindset will spare students the stress that accompanies every single test they’re taking.

ProctorFree strives to make students comfortable in their test environment. We want them to know that yes you are being proctored, but you shouldn’t have to feel like you’re outside of your comfort zone while taking an exam. After all, isn’t their enough stress associated with taking an exam? Worrying about or being distracted by an exam proctor shouldn’t be something a student has to focus on.