Are teachers teaching to learn…or teaching to the test?


Staff Editorial

New day, same routine. Students walk into class, take out their notebooks, jot down mindless notes, and memorize material, just forget it by the end of the week. Students feel like the methods currently being used are only beneficial to past their tests, rather than to help them long-term.

One of the biggest problems among students is their lack of long-span retention of the curriculum. Many educators may set a list of vocab terms and images that need to be studied to pass a test. This requires some students to create flash cards, or participate in mindless assignments to practice loop memorization, which is great for a test, not for long-term memory. Even when practice problems or worksheets are given to help students remember the lesson, many teachers grade these assignments for completion, not correction, which in turn does not benefit the student’s learning at all. In many cases, the students feel like the homework doesn’t correlate to their lesson.

Teachers will explain a topic in one to three days and may not even review the subject again before the test day, meaning students who are confused on the subject will not be able to have their questions answered. For some classes, lessons will be planned out to a specific schedule, but others will be left to the end of the chapter to be crammed in right before the test. Cramming in material with limited time to learn it will not help a student understand a topic, but only memorize it for a short amount of time.

In many cases the students are to blame as well. The majority of students are not vocal enough when it comes to telling their teachers when they need help, and how they like to learn best. After being taught a lesson, a lot of students don’t study the subject either, meaning that they don’t retain the information. However, teachers should also take the initiative in asking students for their opinions on how they would like assignments to be laid out and what kinds of activities they want to do in class and at home. Teachers should also include a variety of different learning techniques to their lesson plans to keep students captivated during class, so they can remember the information long term, and not only for the test.

Many students believe that their teachers are not helping them to fully understand their topics, and only just giving them enough knowledge to pass their tests, but the teachers aren’t the only ones at fault. Students need to be more vocal and present during class, which would help them to fully understand their lessons more.