Penal Labor

Standardized tests shouldn’t be as important to student’s education as they are made to be.


Tyler Henkel, Entertainment Editor

I’ve called school a prison too many times to count. 

When you have to listen and take punishment from authority figures, have to stay and aren’t allowed to leave, and have to eat their less than gourmet food, it isn’t hard to find parallels. 

There is one reason though that going to prison is better than school though. 

In prison you don’t take tests. 

Teachers will say that standardized tests are literally the difference between being a person that sleeps under a bridge and being the person who tries to avoid eye contact with them at all costs.

Yet the things that the school system makes so important are only a reason for kids’ parents to take away their Xbox. 

Tests are an old-fashioned, ineffective way to check knowledge that serves the purpose of making the superintendent feel really good after he realizes that being in the top 5% of test scores will give him a big enough bonus to retire to Hawaii.

Now I’m not saying that tests don’t serve a purpose, I’m just saying they are a scapegoat for the education system to be lazy and not give children the education that they deserve.

Yes, the test will check knowledge about a subject. 

Now tell me if you remember stuff from a test you took a year, a month, a week, I’d be a little disappointed if you said a day but I can’t rule it out. 

Oh, but how are you supposed to see how a kid is doing in their classes if they can’t take tests? Thanks for asking, voice in my head. 

How about they, oh I don’t know, critically think?

Imagine how much more a student would get out of a class if instead of taking multiple choice tests that eventually lead to, wow, a slightly bigger multiple choice test for a final, they instead, for example, would not take a useless multiple choice final, and instead apply that knowledge to a project. 

If a psychology student can make a meaningful project using the things that they learned to make discoveries or think outside the box, they should be proud and feel accomplished about themselves, and pass.

No A,B,C,D,F if they did the final and show they truly understood the material then there’s no reason to base intelligence off of the first few letters of the alphabet.

Then instead of anxious students who worry about tests, and students who know how to take tests and can pass with no effort, you will have students that will be truly invested in their education.

But until the prison guards change their ways, we’ll all be filling out bubbles in orange jumpsuits.