Con: Test Days: Should Teachers Follow Them

Reese Levine, Staff Writer

A lot of emphasis has been placed on test days at Miramonte lately. Supposedly, they cut down on days where students have to deal with multiple tests, and therefore, lower stress. However, forcing teachers to test students on certain days is a bad idea because it slows down the learning process and does not teach students the flexibility they will need in the real world.

Except for a select few (hint: Carolyn Manning), not many teachers have lesson plans for the entire year set out in August. They usually plan a week at a time, or in some cases, day by day. Trying to figure out where to insert tests is difficult enough, and when there are set days, the task becomes even harder.

To accommodate test days, teachers must teach at a pace that will allow the test to fall on a certain day. This could lead to an accelerated pace, where students won’t have enough time to absorb all the information. Conversely, it could also lead to a slower pace, where students could become bored and start zoning out. Either way, the learning process will be impacted.

“The test days are not regulations or requirements, just suggestions,” wrote Principal Adam Clark in an email. “Since the days are published in the handbook, there is a misconception that they are set in stone.”

Clark is discussing the issue of removing the test days from the handbook with teacher leaders.

Not every day of the week was created equal, so why should some subjects have to suffer for it? For example, history’s test days this year are Monday and Wednesday. Monday is the first day back after weekends, so students are not as willing to work and may have forgotten things from the week before. Wednesday’s schedule is shorter, giving students less time in class. Both of these days are not ideal for test days, but because of the schedule, history teachers have to give tests on these days.

Another problem with test days is the routine they create. Someone can go to school every week knowing that they don’t have to worry about tests unless it is a certain day, lulling them into a false sense of security. But when this student gets out of high school, they will realize that they have been sorely misinformed.

In the work world, presentations are not always scheduled on Tuesday, and meetings are not always held on Thursday. While there is some continuity, most deadlines change based on customer needs and business models.  There will be some days that an employee will be swamped with work, and they will have to get through the best they can.

If this was a perfect world, everything would happen on schedule and get done on time. But since this is not true, test days have no place in the school environment.

Test days were put in place to help students manage their workloads and reduce stress, but in reality, not much has changed. Teachers still give as much homework as ever, and in some cases, stress is increased as the curriculum is sped up. Students have managed to deal without test days in the past, and there is no reason to continue a policy that has no positive effects.