Friday, December 7, 2012

The Test

I've been mulling this one over for a while. My original mission was to take a walk around my neigborhood, take some pictures, and do a 'Thoughts From Places'-esque travelblog, but the always dependable Pittsburgh weather had other plans.

My second thought was a rant on education, an open letter to the Education Dept of the US and Pa. But I don't want to just stand atop my blog soapbox and preach like the guy that is talking about the end of the world, only in the form of education.

It seems that the popular idea is that if you want to prove you learned or did something, you need to either have a grade or a test. This kind of reminds me of the opening to John Green's Crash Course:World History series. He talked about a test. It's a great quote, so I recommend listening to it here:

So basically what he says is that life itself is a test. This in and of itself is an argument that tests matter. I mean, if you think life matters, and life itself is a test, then I guess it does matter.

So what am I getting at here? Don't get me wrong, tests are important because it shows progress, and they measure how much you ___ something. That blank could be filled with know, can do, anything you can think of.

But an undeniable truth is that the test itself can only measure as well as the person who devised it can gauge.

What am I talking about? Specifically, standardized testing. I'm personally opposed to it because instead of standardizing curriculum to useful things, we are standardizing benchmarks and as a result, we are teaching to the tests.

So if life is a test, wouldn't it be good to study? Well, yeah. But I think if you are studying, you should study what is on the test and what will matter in life. And I don't feel that the current education system does that.

Why do I say this? I think I've seen more of the 'real world' in WYEP, the scouting movement, and the other things I've done outside of this education bubble. Take for example, I take the scholars track in Math. I'm studying Algebra 2, yet I haven't learned any business math, like taxes and the sort, and I won't.

I may be wrong. After all, I'm only a high school sophomore. But say I'm on to something real here, I think it's time we take some time to study what will really be on the test.

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