As students, we have grown accustomed to the obligations that come from being a student.
One of these has been the practice of testing. It is not uncommon to associate school with exams. From the moment we first enroll, we are introduced to the idea of testing our intelligence to see how we “retain” certain knowledge.
Unlike the accommodation of having multiple learning styles, students are rarely offered different exam styles. The typical exam is filled with multiple choice, fill in the blank and short answers.
Even with the concept of one-exam-for-all in mind, there is still a massive emphasis on exams equating to intelligence. But is that the truth? Does performing well on an exam showcase a person’s level of overall intelligence?
The reality is many exams are engineered to determine if students remember what they were taught in that section. Rarely do we encounter exams that test our ability versus our memory.
“Many ‘intelligent’ students, so identified by the data emanating from various intelligence tests (which incidentally too often reinforce teacher expectations), are frustrated by papers that trot out the same questions in a different garb,” according to the Telegraph. These exams allow for little or no original thought and even actively discourage creative thinking and intelligent responses.
Sadly, it is no longer a secret that exams predominately only test our memorization skills and not the intelligence of a student. “Simply stated, measuring intelligence through examination is, inevitably, as limited as the examination itself,” according to the Telegraph. With exams, the measure of who is intelligent depends more on giving expected and appropriate answers rather than showing any initiative or creative spark.
With this adapted measurement of intelligence, it is obvious that many students have slipped through the cracks due to not fitting the typical stereotype of intelligence. Students who are unable to regurgitate the facts that have been spoken to them in lecture are labeled as lesser than those who can, regardless of how hard they have worked.
If we want to be a genuinely intelligent society, we need to change this now. It is time to stop connecting intelligence with exams. The truth is that exams are not allowing the different types of students to shine and perceive their own intelligence and uniqueness.
“We need to look wider and encourage the entrepreneur, the inquisitive, the creative and the downright cussed in our schools to make the most of who we are and to bring out the richness and diversity of thought and ideas in our society,” Peter Tait writes in the Telegraph.
The conversation can start today. Speak up in the classroom, offer different methods of testing and speak with people who plan to be future educators. The change starts with what you do with your time here at Illinois State University.