Our View: Papers vs. exams

DKS Editors

Exam week is once again almost upon us. Students are cramming to shove every last bit of information into their brains in an attempt to ace their finals. From a very young age, we are taught to memorize a semester’s worth of information, and then regurgitate it onto a Scantron sheet.

Once the exam is over, most of that information is gone forever. Those of us who also have papers to write undoubtedly hear the familiar drone of fellow classmates who swear they just can’t write papers. Competent communication skills are essential in any career field. It is a travesty that anyone should graduate from a university without basic written communication skills.

If the United States ever wants to regain a strong presence as a leader in education, the way students are expected to prove they have learned something should change. In countries like England, college students do not typically take exams that are multiple choice or fill in the blank. Instead, they are expected to write research papers that detail what they have learned over the course of the semester. By applying what they are reading about and listening to in lectures, students are able to think about what they are learning. It encourages and cultivates critical thinking.

Our education system is pitiful at best. The United States is not even in the top 5 best countries concerning education. It’s no surprise, considering students are not expected to retain any of the information they are taught throughout the semester. In a study released this year by Newsweek, the United States ranked No. 26 in education.

The system of standardized testing is failing students in this country. We have some of the best resources in the world and the potential to produce the best minds in the world, but no one is holding us up to those standards. Maybe it’s time we say goodbye to tests.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.