The spread of testing throughout the world makes life for students increasingly stressed by the need to adhere to adult standards as to what learning is all about. More than 900,000 primary school graduates in Turkey sat for state high school entrance exams which determine if an individual makes or doesn’t make a sufficiently high enough grade to qualify for one of the prestigious secondary schools. Basak Taner told a reporter, “When the starting bell rings, I feel that my life will begin too.” In the world of testing, a single test can determine if one has learned over the course of several years. Of course, few tests can enable students to express their original thinking or their creativity which, ostensibly, is the purpose of going to school.
Fortunately, for Turkish students the Ministry of Education is replacing these exams next year with other means of evaluating student thinking. In the future, student grades and teacher comments as well as three exams will replace the current system of a make or break one test process. Of course, students are not pleased with the news there will be three rather than one exam.
A major problem with any form of “testing” is that teachers alter their teaching to attain higher test score results which results in less effort to allow students to demonstrate their creative and critical thinking abilities. As long as there are “special high schools” which allow students to get into “desirable universities,” the tyranny of exams will endure.