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Teen Voice: ACTing out
October 28, 2016 Faith Reisig   

Read more by Faith Reisig
Last Saturday, I took the ACT, which originally stood for American College Test, and is a hoop for furthering oneís formal education. Taking a standardized test is nothing new to me. Iím used to sharpening No. 2 soft lead pencils and completely filling in the circles indicating the answer you select.

Iíve been filling in bubbles for state tests since second grade and, frankly, I enjoy it. In elementary school, testing meant a break from the monotony of daily lessons. It also meant that Iíd get to eat snacks twice a day. Now, Iím more than happy to give up a Saturday morning to have an opportunity to challenge myself, not to mention, get the best score, so I can raise my chances of attracting the attention of good colleges and hopefully earning scholarships.

Most of my worries about standardized testing were worked out in middle school. In eighth grade, testing was given a huge emphasis; it determined what classes we were in, how the school was ranked nationally, and caused me some anxiety.

I remember being told, ďTesting determines what classes youíre in now, which will affect what classes you can take in high school, which will affect which colleges you can go to, which will affect the rest of your life.Ē Fortunately for me, my mom didnít let me get too worked up about the standardized tests we were given.

ďYouíll be fine,Ē she told me. ďNo college cares about what scores you got on an eighth-grade test.Ē Her words stuck with me and gave me the much-needed perspective about the whole testing scenario. I didnít freak out about eighth grade testing and coincidentally did quite well.

Now, Iím taking tests that directly affect what colleges Iíll go to and I donít have any anxiety about them. I figure Iíll do the best I can and not worry about getting a perfect score. Iím not above studying for tests like the ACT, but I wonít let them rule my life.

Unfortunately, I know many students more concerned with learning whatever they need to for standardized tests than learning more about the things that interest them. Personally, I love reading and writing. Iíve always enjoyed history and science and will ask my teachers for additional reading material about subjects I want to know more about.

Education, as a whole, seems to have moved away from this learn-what-interests-you model, and I am definitely in the minority. I understand that it would be impossible to teach every student only the things they want to learn. However, all of my peers have something they enjoy learning, whether itís basic music theory or the statistics of different sports players. Sadly, I see more and more of these students lose their love of learning as they learn only what they need to for classes or assessments.

I understand that tests like the ACT are important for students like me who want to pursue a higher level of education. But, learning is so much more important than any of the questions the ACT asked me on Saturday.

I was born into a family that taught me to be curious about everything. There were piles of books in my house, and every week my mom or dad took my siblings and I to the local library where we would check out as many books as we could lug home. I read fantasy, history, and stories that made my hair stand on end. As I got older, I checked out books about more serious issues that helped me to develop empathy. In the past year or two I have started to read non-fiction, more often than not. At any given time, Iíll have a book or two. Iím boring through topics that interest me.

Iíve had (and still have) teachers that encourage my learning habit by giving me books to read, recommending documentaries or asking questions that make me examine what I believe. I love school, and Iím fascinated by what I am learning in most every class.

Unfortunately, not every kid learns how to be curious.

School should, if nothing else, teach students how to learn. Standardized tests should be second to that.
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Comments

Great article, I wrote a similar one on my blog at http://john-nevarez.blogspot.com.ar/
- John Mullen [2016-11-04 03:57:06]

Great article, I wrote a similar one on my blog at http://john-nevarez.blogspot.com.ar/
- John Mullen [2016-11-04 03:57:15]

Great article, I wrote a similar one on my blog at http://john-nevarez.blogspot.com.ar/
- John Mullen [2016-11-14 01:47:15]