Higher-level learning requires giving back tests

Assessments should be readily reviewed for students to allow for growth, progress

Although tests, essays or any other form of assessment can be stressful to prepare and take for many students, I believe they are essential to our learning and growth since the knowledge I take away from them is useful to my success as a student. Because of the significance of assessments, teachers should make reviewing tests as convenient as possible for students.

Personally, testing has been important for me in my Algebra 2 math class, where we are usually assigned one quick quiz for a specific lesson my class learned each week. Though these are only half a page long and make up a small portion of my grade, I am able to use them to determine the concepts I need to spend more time on.

Teachers should give back assessments such as tests to students as they are crucial for a student’s education. (Illustration by Mackie Vu)

For students, assessments help test the knowledge students have mastered and show them concepts they need to work on. In fact, frequent testing is beneficial because it improves retention of the knowledge tested, according to a study done by a cognitive psychologist at Washington University, Henry L. Roediger III, from an article by The Atlantic.

However, in order to maximize the benefits tests provide, teachers must hand back assessments. 

I have received tests with no comments and sometimes I have not received tests back at all. Being left only with a letter and percentage in my grade book feels unfair. This absence of feedback hinders learning and takes the purpose out of assessments. If tests are to be made applicable and something other than a grade, teachers should ensure that students can review them.

Additionally, teachers should make time in class to accommodate the busy schedules of students. Though using class time may be time-consuming, it is more important that students approach a new lesson with a stronger understanding of their fundamentals, something that they can gain from reviewing their assessments. Without a stable knowledge base, students cannot evaluate more difficult concepts, according to Harvard’s ablconnect database. Therefore, a lack of foundational knowledge can prevent students from reaching their full potential.

Even though teachers are busy and designating a time to review assessments may create extra work for them, it will be worth it in the long run. Students should be prepared early on in the curriculum so they can continue to grow and develop their understanding.

For assessments to be meaningful for the student’s education, it may be on them to take initiative with their education and review the flaws they have made, but it is also the teacher’s job always to give back assessments and make sure they are readily available. Assessments can make all the difference but we just need to make them matter.