Since the dawn of schools, there have always been a set of tests or evaluations to assess how well a child is learning. This helps them move forward into the next grade all the way through their school years, and shows how they are doing academically. But are tests the most conducive means of seeing progress in each student? 

The Pros and Cons

All we have really known as kids in school is taking tests and quizzes to show what we have learned and retained. You read and listen to the teacher talking and explaining the material, and you also learn more about it through reading about the material. Then you try to retain that information from re-reading and cramming the words and meanings into your brain as much as possible. You take the test and hopefully make a good grade, and then move on to the next section of information you are required to remember. This goes on and on for each subject, each semester, year after year. But do we actually learn the information we are pushing into our brains? 

Some scholars are arguing that this is not really a great way to learn information, as most students may end up forgetting most of the information they learned while in school. This form of learning is more about cramming information into the brain, which typically does not last long. Other scholars argue that of course you are learning information and that it does stay in people’s brains long after school. No matter your opinion on the matter, some schools are starting to look at this method of teaching and wondering if there is another way of making it easier. 

Portfolios of Work

Some school systems are coming up with student portfolios instead of tests. They are given specific projects throughout the year for that certain subject, and each student is to work on these projects throughout the year. At the end of the school year, the students turn in their portfolios to their teachers and they receive a grade on the whole of the portfolio. Teachers feel that portfolios are the best thing out there in terms of being able to see growth and learning, especially since the portfolios are done throughout the year. This allows the teachers to see the advancement and learning progress of each student more clearly than answering questions on a test correctly. Student portfolios just may become the new wave of testing in more and more schools!

Katie Kyzivat