Tests should focus more on analysis

Memorization based tests don’t optimally prepare students for their future


John Lehan, JagWire reporter/photographer

Donald Trump is the 45th president of the United States. This is a simple fact, not unlike the many others students memorize throughout high school. This fact is so simple, looking it up online is easier than taking notes over it. Students can look up simple answers on Google. To combat this, teachers should give tests focusing more on deeper analysis, which benefit students better in the long run. 

Teaching memorization over analysis is certainly easier. Simple answers have an objective right answer, whereas analysis may be subjective, so grading becomes simpler and less disputable if tests focus only on memorizing facts. Additionally, many standardized tests don’t require analysis, so teaching analysis doesn’t directly prepare students for those tests.

Despite this, only encouraging students to memorize facts is inherently flawed. Why annotate a book or discover how an equation works if tests only focus on facts that could be looked up effortlessly? Teachers may try testing facts that cannot be easily looked up to encourage students to do assignments properly. Unfortunately, this avoids testing the most important facts that were purposefully made readily accessible. 

Not only are memorization-only tests flawed, they rarely teach anything useful. If everything on the test can be looked up in preparation for the test, it can be looked up later in life. Tests that include analysis, on the other hand, help develop critical thinking skills that can be applied to anything students may choose to pursue. 

Although it may be simple to test only over objective truths, students learn nothing by looking up and memorizing facts, so tests should focus more on developing critical thinking skills through questions that require analysis.

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