This is a Test


From the desk of Celia Tucker, Academic Counselor:

This is a test.

Okay…so this is not a test but for a moment just now how did that statement make you feel?

  1. My heart beat a little bit faster.
  2. My palms started to sweat.
  3. My mind started going blank.
  4. All of the above.

I remember taking a class in my Master’s Degree Program that was titled Tests and Measurements. I like the word “measurement”. Think about it… “Students, on Friday we will have a measurement on the material we have been studying.” Students, remember that the college is going to want a SAT measurement or an ACT measurement as part of your college application.” “Students, remember before the semester ends we are going to have a final measurement.”  I love this.  It seems that we definitely put pressure on ourselves when the word “test” is mentioned but perhaps if we think about and try to focus on what the “test” is really designed to do and that is to measure our progress, maybe we can begin to look at tests in a more positive way.

When going to take my Driver’s Test in Louisiana when I was 15 years old (can you believe how early) I was so nervous. I remember getting in the car and following the officer’s instructions until he uttered those ambiguous words, “Now, please move into the lane in which you would normally drive on a 4 lane highway.” Yes, you guessed it, I stayed in the left lane just minding my own business and upon returning to the Driver’s License Office was told to come back the next week and take the test again. The officer was very professional in explaining to me that the left lane on a four lane highway was considered the passing lane and that I should have moved to the right lane because I wasn’t passing anyone at that particular time but oh how I wished he had just been forgiving instead of being so professional.  Boy, that was painful. Looking back I now realize that  the officer might very well have saved my life (and others)and in all reality he was doing exactly what he was supposed to do which was measuring my ability to drive alone. Although uncomfortable at the time, I am glad that he did not pass me just to make me feel better or because he was afraid that he might forever ruin my self-esteem. What he did that day for me in my fifteen year old life is allow me to fail, reevaluate, and then recover from my failure.

In the world of college admissions I like to tell students that they have been preparing for PSAT, SAT, and ACT since kindergarten. Prep classes and books can help with specific testing strategies but taking rigorous classes, going above and beyond in the classroom, and taking every testing opportunity extremely serious is optimum preparation. With changes on the horizon for both SAT and ACT remembering to choose challenging courses and read, read, read will have students ready for the newest version of “measurement” that these testing agencies choose to present. We should be encouraged that colleges continue to stress that test scores are but only one factor that they consider when evaluating students for admissions but we know that scores are extremely important, competitive scores continue to be necessary, and  many times test scores can be rewarded with scholarship awards. Knowing these factors early in a student’s quest for college admission it is advisable for students to continue taking standardized practice tests(for which Brook Hill provides ample opportunities), to continue taking each testing opportunity very seriously, and to continue to go above and beyond in the classroom on a daily basis.

Here’s to proper use of the passing lane…