A place created for students to learn, gain knowledge, and obtain experiences that prepare them for life after school.
Sounds great, right?
As a high school student, I've been exposed first-hand to the effects of school on students. In all my years of schooling, I've yet to have heard a student say that they're looking forward to going to school the next day.
I can guarantee that the majority of high school, or middle school, students have had at least one 'mental breakdown' in their lifetime when attempting something school-related. Why?
Because school is hard. Specifically, standardized testing.
When you put a group of students with X, Y, Z talents all in one building, giving them huge exams back to back, the outcome isn't going to be good.
Millions of children could fail at school due to an obsession with an individual assessment, literacy skills and the right kind of behavior, according to an OU academic.
The traditional system of education was designed in the industrial age and is now outdated and ineffective. Think about it- as a country, how much has the United States changed in the last 100 years? A lot.
Now, think about how much the school system in the US has changed in the last 100 years.
Pretty much the same, right?
See, this is what perplexes me. Science is just now taking a closer look at these centuries-old school practices, one of the things they found out was that huge final exams are terrible for learning. Finals are unnecessary because they are unfair. It's the age-old dilemma: some people don't perform well in high-pressure environments, such as exams. A student could be very intelligent and a hard worker, but they might be bad at taking tests.
Let me give you an example of my friend (since I won't be using her real name, let's call her Eliza). Eliza is an extremely smart girl, and I know her well enough to know that she puts in a lot of dedication and time into her school work. She has a very strong work ethic, and her ability to understand the material presented to her is quite impressive. Eliza and I are in the same math period, and we recently took several math quizzes to prepare for our tests.
Eliza got low Cs on all of them.
I was shocked! How can this smart girl, who clearly understood all the concepts, get such low grades on her exams?
Turns out that Eliza is apparently a terrible test taker. While she may be academically gifted, her anxiety overtakes her sense of confidence and understanding, and instead, she is faced with a mountain of pressure that she struggles to overcome. Eliza is just one example out of many, many other students that I know. I, myself, sometimes struggle with taking exams back-to-back. The majority of students who are like me, taking all Honors and AP courses, have to study for a long, extended period of time on a daily basis in order to ensure good grades and a decent understanding of the material.
Are we really understanding the material, though? Or are we just memorizing facts, patterns, formulas, and information, and we're just really good at regurgitating that outcome test day?
I think school is incredible, and that everyone deserves equal opportunities in education. Education equality is crucial for different students from different backgrounds, and that is something I feel strongly about. I founded my nonprofit organization, College Pathway, in order to help ensure that every student has an equal opportunity to access different resources pertaining to their education, specifically, life after high school (like college).
I only wish for there to be reform in our public educational system, and for school to be designed in such a way that students look forward to going to school, and not dread it.
School is supposed to be a place of learning, excitement, and a place to satisfy our thirst for knowledge- and standardized testing is doing the opposite of just that.