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OC HIGH / STUDENT NEWS AND VIEWS : Real Test of Education Is to Come

July 08, 1994|GENE HONG | Gene Hong is a junior at Canyon High School in Anaheim, where this article first appeared in the student newspaper, the Smoke Signals.

Are we being tested to death? Starting from elementary school with the CTBS and CAP test and continuing through high school with the SAT, ACT, ASVAB, ACH, AP, PSAT, finals, etc., we are poked and prodded by various tests to the point where some students become so exasperated that they stop trying their hardest.

Why are we being tested so much? Well, it's the only way colleges and universities can determine who the "best" students are. The tests show how smart we are. By smart I do not mean intelligent or creative. I mean knowledgeable. While some tests do gauge reasoning ability and creativity, most test only acquired knowledge. Therefore, the tests become forums for the demonstration of memorization skills only, and those who can memorize better, win.

Albert Einstein is remembered as one of the greatest thinkers of our time, not one of the great memorizers. He once said: "Imagination is more important than knowledge."

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We are not tested for imagination. Indeed, we are not even encouraged to cultivate it. What we are encouraged to become is "testing robots." We are fed information; we retain that information for a short while, and then we regurgitate it. Is this what learning is?

However, we cannot place all the blame on the education system. Much of the blame lies on our own shoulders. Too often, we spend the free time we have while not numbing our brains with information by numbing our brains in front of the television.

We sometimes use the excuse that we're too tired of studying to think. Are we ever too tired of thinking to study? No.

Maybe the purpose of education is to give us the desire to think, so that we will then pursue knowledge as a firm foundation, a jumping-off point, from which our brains can venture. But if this is true, many of us don't realize it. We refuse to think or study.

So, are we being tested to death? No, we are not. Are we being tested too much? Maybe, but we are complaining for the wrong reasons. It's not the number of tests we should be concerned with, but the limited side of intelligence that they portray.

Instead of griping, wouldn't it be better for us to comply for now, to dutifully study and to allow ourselves to be tested so that we can go to college and attain a position in society where we can reform education?

Or is the risk of not being financially rewarded for the sake of future generations too high?

Sadly, for many of us it is. Too many bright minds are spoiled by this system, and too many bright minds are wasted in not being used to reform it.

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