Why All School Tests/ Exams Should Be Open Book
How would you feel, if come January or June, you found out that all of your exams were to be open book? You should feel relieved, as an open book testing system can benefit you in many ways. Open book tests can be an effective way to learn, better prepare students for their futures, and drastically decrease their stress levels. Those are just a few reasons why I believe open book testing is overall superior to closed book testing. To begin, one of the main arguments against open book testing is that it’s not as effective as closed book testing. However, I believe that open book tests can be an even more effective way for students to learn. With this system of testing in place, students could focus on actually understanding the material, rather than just memorizing from a note or textbook. Open book tests don’t have to be the “easy A” many people think they are. For example, to still challenge students and make them think, many educators give essay questions on their exams. This is an ideal way for students to apply their knowledge and prove their understanding.
A study by Dominican University of California associate professors of psychology showed that weakly prepared students did poorly on tests, whether they were open or closed book, and vice versa. (researchers study effects of exam types) Therefore, this system still benefits students who put in effort by attending class and taking organized notes, and students who don’t typically put in those efforts may even be encouraged to. The professors, Dr. Afshin Gharib, and Dr. William Phillips also found that study time remained pretty constant. On average, these university students studied for 3. 7 hours regardless of the test type. (researchers study effects of exam types) This data proves that students as well know that open book tests can still be challenging. Second, I think open book testing systems are more realistic towards real life. Closed book tests are based on memorization, and in most careers, you won’t be expected to remember every detail. If you encounter a problem, you’ll likely have resources to turn to, like textbooks, booklets, or even the internet. (small pond science) If none of these resources are available to you, chances are there will be a coworker willing to help you. Arguably, in most occupations, it would be easier for you to fact check something than to make a mistake and have to fix it. Open book tests teach students how to properly locate information using those resources, and then how to apply that information. Also, memorizing things in the way of closed book testing may be a waste of time as technology advances further and further. As these advancements take place, systems can change, and therefore information you previously memorized would be out of date. For example, if a 50 year old doctor still did everything the exact same way they learned to 20+ years ago in medical school, their patients would suffer. Everyone needs to be able to learn new things.
Finally, I think that an open book testing system in schools would decrease cheating on exams and tests, as well as being beneficial to students’ mental well being. Many will agree that your secondary and post-secondary school years can be some of the most stressful of your life. For some, uncertainty about their futures can find permanent shelter in their brains.
This pressure and the other stresses of adolescence when elevated to an extreme can cause actual symptoms- like fatigue, frequent headaches, and even the inability to concentrate and remember things. (stress symptoms) Also, many students are being pressured by others, such as parents or teachers, to achieve and maintain high grades. It’s known that some students cheat on tests out of laziness, but that isn’t always the case. According to James M. Lang, associate professor of english at Assumption College “School systems… have raised the stakes of tests much too high. ” and he goes on to state that cheating can become a “rational response” for a student under extreme pressure. (Suzi Parker) However, Dr. Afshin Gharib and Dr. William Phillips learned through their study (that I mentioned earlier) that students reported much lower levels of anxiety before open book tests rather than closed book tests. (researchers study effects of exam types)In conclusion, I believe that schools should switch over to an open book testing system, because “if we want to teach higher level thinking, then that should require higher level learning” (small pond science). If open book tests are still effective, more realistic towards real life, and better for students’ mental well being, then why wouldn’t schools change their system right away?
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