This essay deals with the factors that negatively affect the students’ ability to take tests and achieve a high score, which are unrelated to their previous knowledge on the subject matter at hand. They include lack of proper revision, stress, lack of time and misreading the question. All of these issues call for a retake of the test as a fair course of action, exactly because the low score was not the result of the lack of knowledge on the part of the student, but rather of factors not completely under their control.
Most students regard themselves as proficient when it comes to the issue of comprehending the subject matter at hand, yet it is not an unheard of fact that test scores differ vastly from student to student. This is, naturally, the result of personal preparedness of every individual student. However, their performance during tests is marred by their knowledge or lack of it, but in addition, they might subconsciously, have a negative effect on their own performance, by stressing themselves too much or misreading the question, in an effort to beat the clock. Consequently, all of these factors prove the need for allowing students to retake tests, as the final grade is not only affected by their preceding knowledge, but these other factors as well.
As expected, knowledge of the subject matter is mandatory for achieving high test scores. The society’s urging to make all students the same and to employ a one-size-fits-all manner of testing actually devalues educational quality (Sadker and Zittleman 740). From a certain point of view, giving equal opportunities appears to be the fair choice, but a dissimilar perspective claims that different students have diverse skills and thus, are unable to do equally well in all educational areas.
One of the reasons that attentive and hard-working students fail to do well on tests is due to their incapability to properly revise the curriculum. It is of the utmost significance that the student does appropriate revision before the test itself. Many students refer to revision as merely reading the material that they already know, also commencing this process too late for occasional gaps in knowledge to be filled in due time. This detracts from the knowledge they already possess and fails to prepare them properly and thoroughly for the ensuing test. If they are explained how to suitably revise, they would have a better chance at attaining a higher test score.
Secondly, stress is a factor that is inevitable when it comes to the issue of taking tests. Some people are, by nature, more prone to stress than others and thus, their actions are entirely subjected to this feeling of anxiety and inadequacy. Student life is a nerve-racking experience in itself and this is a noteworthy factor when test scores are taken into account. Even if they are not inclined to subject their entire behavior and actions to anxiety, students can sometimes, unwittingly create stress pitfalls that, in turn, prove to be their downfall during the exam season. There are numerous strategies that students believe help them, while in fact, they evoke even more stressful behavior, such as the infamous all-nighters, stuffing oneself with caffeine to be able to stay up all night and perpetually reminding oneself what is at stake if the test is failed.
All of these factors lead to a lack of focus on doing the test as best as possible, because the feeling of anxiety would be overpowering. When one’s mind is not at peace and when one cannot focus on the issue at hand, it is understandable that he is not able to achieve as high results as if he were doing the test with a calm state of mind, without anxiety and apprehension. Consequently, all of this leads to lower test scores and with this, less chance of subsequent professional success for the student, despite the fact that the student in question may have been in possession of enough knowledge for a higher score. Stress takes its toll on the thought processes, and this is why if any students were under a lot of tension and stress immediately before or during the testing, they should be allowed to retake it.
When it comes to the test taking itself, students are firmly told to be attentive, though reading mishaps always happen, especially under such circumstances, when one’s clear thinking is marred by stress at the possible, negative outcome. In consequence, it is not infrequent that the students give an erroneous answer, not due to their lack of knowledge, but rather because they fail to read the question properly. This might be the result of the lack of time, and their rushing to answer the final question or questions, mistaking the terms of the question along the process and not having spare time to reread the question. Again, their incorrect answer would not be written because they did not know the correct answer, but rather due to their lack of attentiveness.
Students are asked not to rush in giving their final answer, though this appears slightly contradictory since most of the tests are being timed. Thus, this would mean that some students would be pushed towards giving an answer, even though they might not be completely certain whether it is the correct one. This also leads to the conclusion that a certain amount of time will not be enough for taking a test, because different students will require a different amount of time. Some students’ thought processes are like clock-work, precise and punctual, and they immediately know if they have the right answer or not. Others, on the other hand, are not endowed with this privilege and thus, require a bit more time when it comes to writing down exactly what they wish to provide as their correct answer. This creates the possibility of them running out of time, leaving some answers half done, not answering some at all, an issue that could have been solved if only they were given an unlimited amount of time. If this is the case, the students should be allowed to retake the test, simply because their low score was not the result of lack of knowledge, but rather the lack of time.
In the end, there are numerous issues which might make students achieve unexpectedly low test scores, which would not be the result of their lack of knowledge, but other factors that come into play, such as stress, lack of proper revision, lack of testing time and misreading the question. All of these aspects would deem the student in need of a retake, simply because his knowledge was not able to surface due to outer constituents, marring his testing performance.
Cleland, J., Arnold, R., & Chesser, A. (2005). “Failing Finals Is Often a Surprise for the Student but Not the Teacher: Identifying Difficulties and Supporting Students with Academic Difficulties.” Medical Teacher, 27(6), 504–508.
Sadker, D., & Zittleman, K. (2004). “Test Anxiety: Are Students Failing Tests — Or Are Tests Failing Students?” Phi Delta Kappan, 85(10), 740–751.