Define: Intelligence

Testing does not determine student intellect


Shelby Foster

A student struggles to meet the demands of standardized testing. While standardized tests such as the Georgia Milestones and the SAT are often required for academic promotion, many students feel these tests are not an accurate depiction of their intelligence.

Brianna Payne, Reviews Editor

Over the years, education standards have drastically changed, leaving a lasting effect on today’s youth. New methods of standardized testing have been placed to monitor student progress throughout the school year. From the early years of elementary school to the stress of senior year, testing has been steadily implemented as the sole factor that determines student intelligence.

While students are still learning the alphabet, they are led to believe that test scores dictate an individual’s level of intelligence. Young students are made well-aware of the future years that will be spent taking numerous standardized tests. The beginning of elementary school is frequently spent preparing young minds for the standardized tests that come in the springtime.

It is disheartening to students who work diligently all semester to keep their grades up only to see them plummet under the weight of an end-of-the-year test.”

— Reviews Editor Brianna Payne

Within the past few years, numerous methods of testing and education standards have been introduced as an effort to improve test scores. Standardized tests such as the Georgia Milestone and Student Progress Measures (SPMs) have been adopted on top of the stress of finals. The Georgia Board of Education believes by adding these new assessments, overall student test scores will improve.

Many students find it difficult to meet these new standards while also maintaining the high expectations of their parents. Students are constantly expected by their guardians and educators to be prepared to excel, while they are unaware of the changes since they attended high school. While good grades still had to be hard-earned in the past, the recent pressure placed on students through introducing new forms of testing has changed high school as they knew it.  

It is disheartening to students who work diligently all semester to keep their grades up only to see them plummet under the weight of an end-of-the-year test. Many students study tirelessly for their finals, but find it hard to relay this information due to problems with test taking.

While some students do have a knack for testing and always manage to succeed, others are not as lucky. Many students struggle with anxiety or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, meaning they should receive more time for testing. It takes longer for these types of people to take tests, especially with a lack of focus or the anxiety that comes with limited test time. For these individuals, below-average test scores in comparison to students who excel, can easily make them feel unintelligent.

When finals time rolls around each year, students are told that if they study and prepare themselves, there is no room for error. The pressure of testing is also present when preparing and taking tests that determine college acceptance.  

What some students lack in test taking skills, they make up for in different areas of knowledge.”

— Reviews Editor Brianna Payne

Outstanding scores on tests such as the SAT or ACT have been made a requirement among most colleges, making it extremely difficult for those who struggle with testing to make their ideal score. This makes it hard for aspiring college students to pursue a further education without spending money retaking these costly tests. This can be quite a burden to students who don’t have a knack for testing.    

These students find their strengths in different ways, whether it is society’s desired excellent test-taker or an expertise in a non-school related passion. What some students lack in test taking skills, they make up for in different areas of knowledge.

Psychologist and Harvard graduate Howard Gardner shares this outlook as he believes there can be seven different types of intelligence. While Gardner himself was studious as a child, his interest in psychology and how different minds work was the precursor to his Multiple Intelligences Theory. Just like some people are visual learners and some are more logical, Gardner clearly shows how not all brains are alike.

Some of the world’s most accomplished and brilliant individuals never attended college or dropped out of high school years before graduating. They have gone on to carry successful careers in many fields proven to not need a high school or college degree. This shows that an individual can be successful without the validation of how well one can memorize assigned material in a limited period of time.

While testing can measure how well a student can study and focus in class, those who do not perform as well as others should not be discouraged. Test scores do not determine an individual’s level of intelligence and students should not be led to believe that they do. Schools should encourage their students to try their best without the fear that a poor performance will influence hard-earned grades.