Should schools get rid of traditional testing, have fewer tests, or stay the way they are?
In high school, I remember feeling like I was running this race of pre-tests and essay prompts until I reached the MCAS. Being privately schooled previously, I had never taken the MCAS before. Combined with the fact that I was an overly conscientious student petrified of not getting into college, I was pretty nervous about them. Then, sophomore year, a whole two years before graduation, I aced this fateful test that was supposed to decide if I graduated or not. In this way, the MCAS are definitely flawed. I do appreciate the free tuition that came with acing it, however.
Also in high school, I definitely "learned for the test". I think a lot of students cram for the test, then forget everything after. High School has such an emphasis on testing, which allows for cramming to be usually all that is necessary.
In college, I've experienced that balancing the test worth to the overall grade is important. Having essays, projects, discussions, and participation weigh as heavily as the test allows more opportunity for everyone to do well. If you're not a test taker, you can work extra hard on the essays and projects, and so on.
I think that too much emphasis is put on fact based tests in high school to ensure that the student is reaching state-mandated education goals. Perhaps students should also have to write more essays that require critical thinking instead of always being given objective tests? That would solve two issues we've been discussing.