I wrote this in a relatively short time. I have to turn this in sooner or later, but i'm guessing that it has tons of grammatical errors (and I'm pretty sure I'm using the word 'governmental' incorrectly) and I've been told that I have a hard time staying on the topic. Lots of my ideas and arguments are a bit on the iffy (?) side and I don't feel that they are strong enough. Any corrections and guidance would be appreciated... thank you :)
What are your feelings about the High School Proficiency Exam (HSPE)? Why?
Do you support tests to assess knowledge?
I am not in favor of the general idea of having governmental tests to test students' knowledge. There are better alternatives to measure students' knowledge than taking hour-long tests that often fail to show how much a student actually knows. Everyday school assignments, tests, and grades proficiently show how much a student knows. There is really no adequate reason supporting the idea that the government should force students to take formal tests when much of their learning abilities had already been proved by their grades and teacher evaluations. The formal exams created by the government do nothing but to put burden and stress over the student.
The formal tests such as the SAT and HSPE are too generalized to test each student as an individual. Instead, it tests the population as a whole. Because of this, formal tests fail to deliver the acute representation of a person's knowledge. Because our population is composed of many diverse individuals with diverse ways of learning and displaying knowledge, a generalized test naturally cannot succeed in meeting the needs of all the various individuals. I know a person who has a great short-term memory but is not very good with her long-term memory. I know that she is an extremely intelligent person, but in the generalized tests she would always come home with a failing grade just because she could not keep things in her head for long periods of time. I also have a friend who is excellent in all classes except math. In the MSP, even though she received high 4's in almost all her subjects, she got a failing score on math. Not a single student conforms perfectly to the testing system; some of them might be inadequate in one area while they excel in one area. Tests should exist to test a student on a subject they feel talented with, not to stress unique individuals to fit in the traditional criteria of passing. In the case of my friend I mentioned earlier, she could prove that she was exceptionally smart without having to take an exam.
There are some who argue that exams are a good way to assess a student's capabilities as exams apply knowledge to real-life situations. This argument can be easily debunked. No student ever needs to know the trigonometric formula to live unless they plan on taking a math career. Nor do we need to memorize the table of elements in order to function properly (unless the student plans to take a chemistry career, of course). There are many things in school that we will need to know to find our niche in life, such as learning proper syntax and grammar in English. However, it is important to note that students can easily gain access to knowledge without exams. Exams are in no way the only way to learn and discover new information; regular schoolwork and teacher guidance can take care of it.
Generalized exams cannot and probably will never be able to judge students' knowledge correctly. Instead of the exams like the SAT and HSPE, other kinds of assessment should be considered that do not stress students and show each individual's knowledge accurately.Edit: just realized that this essay is in the wrong category... sorry!!!! This is my first essay that I'm posting on this site. I won't make the same mistake again.