The Epic

The injustice of test skipping

Hsinyen Huang

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The frustration I feel when a teacher is waiting on one student to make up an important test before passing it back is unparalleled. Yet classrooms always feel emptier on test days, as unprepared students often don’t show up to risk their grades by taking tests they aren’t ready for. While I completely understand missing a test once or twice during the school year due to extracurriculars or homework piling up, test skipping turns into a problem when it becomes habitual. Not only does test skipping encourage procrastination and ineffective time management, but it also undermines the fairness of academic assessments.

Students who believe they are unprepared for a test may come to school late, leave early, fake illness or not come at all, just to avoid the test. This lack of preparation may stem from being overwhelmed by schoolwork, staying up late to finish off tasks for clubs or practicing for sports and competitions. Thus, students don’t bother studying for tests so that they have more time to complete more pressing assignments.

Before I come off as a goody two shoes, I would like to present a disclaimer: I realize that school can be stressful at times and that taking a day off to recharge can be tempting when you’re struggling to understand your homework at 2:00 a.m. To be honest, I’m guilty of procrastination myself, often wondering where all my time has gone after an afternoon of catching up on television shows and leaving every assignment for the last day.

Test skipping allows students extra time to study, and when a grade-determining test is coming up, every second matters. This practice gives absent students a huge advantage over their peers who take the test no matter how prepared they were. To combat this problem, some teachers create a new make-up test to make the process more fair. Devising a new test, however, is inherently unfair, because teachers cannot guarantee that the new test will have a difficulty level that is appropriate for students who receive extra time to prepare. Consequently, these make-up tests always end up being too hard or too easy.

Skipping tests further compromises the fairness of exams by inviting cheating. Friends often share information about test questions with each other. While this problem is not unique to test skipping, extra days only prolong the period that information exchanges can happen, allowing students time to give more detailed hints. Many teachers also wait for all students to take the test before passing the test back, and accordingly, disclosing results. As a result, an entire class ends up waiting on a small handful of students to take the test before knowing their scores. If teachers do give back the test on time, students who haven’t taken the test yet are forced to sit outside while the teacher goes over the test. This method, while effective in allowing students to view their scores and understand their mistakes when the information is still fresh in their brain, has no measures put in place to prevent students from memorizing test questions and discussing them with others.

The benefits of test skipping only promote the behavior that is at the root of this problem: bad time management. By granting extra days of study without penalties, teachers are essentially rewarding students for procrastinating. Students need to learn to value the time that they are already given to prepare themselves sufficiently for tests. Test skipping, at its core, teaches students to run away from problems, and without hard enforcement of test dates, students will never learn to confront their problems.

This issue will only worsen if nothing is done about it. One student failing to show up for a test may benefit himself or herself, but it also impacts the teacher and fellow classmates. Sure, test skipping is permissible at times when students are sick or going on trips, but students need to learn to use the time they are given wisely.

About the Writer
Hsinyen Huang, Managing Editor

Hsin Yen is a senior and the Managing Editor for the 2018-2019 school year. She looks forward to working with the new staff, creating graphics, and planning...

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The injustice of test skipping