Is all this stress necessary?

Preparations for provincial government exams often leads to stress and anxiety

With the switchover of semesters just over two weeks away, students have begun to feel the strain of the incoming days.

Preparations for provincial government exams often leads to stress and anxiety, which has led many students to question the current methods of standardized testing. In British Columbia, the required provincial exams differ for each grade, with Grade 10 having three, and Grades 11 and 12 having one. Twenty per cent of a Grade 10 and 11student’s final marks are dependent on their exam score, while for Grade 12 students, it is worth 40 per cent. These exams often feature multiple choice and written section. Students get a total of three hours to complete the exam.

The exams are formatted so that each student will have an equal opportunity to demonstrate their understanding of the subject. However, standardized testing has been criticized by those who believe it to be an inaccurate way of grading a student’s knowledge, as the conditions surrounding the exam can affect those taking it.

“It really depends on the person and the subject. It’s hard to come up with a different way to judge how much a student has learned in math, but with English, there’s such a wide variety of options, and most people have difficulty producing work that accurately reflects their skills and learning outcomes in that limited amount of time,” said Gina Klein, a Grade 12 student who has exams in Physics 12 and Pre-calculus 12 this semester. “There’s a lot of factors that could interfere with a student’s ability to perform under those circumstances. If someone has an off day, gets horrible test anxiety, or if they don’t work well under pressure, that could completely change the way they go about doing the exam.”

Megan Koster joins those who believe that exams are an inaccurate way of accessing students, stating: “Test scores do not accurately measure learning; they measure a student’s ability to excel at standardized tests.”

It begs the question: Is there an alternative way of standardized testing that benefits both parties? Or is the current format the most efficient way?