The Student News Site of San Luis Obispo High School




The Student News Site of San Luis Obispo High School



Group Tests Don’t Achieve the Goal of Group Work; What Can SLOHS do Instead?


  The land of group tests is located in these halls. Photo courtesy of sophomore Roslyn Risner.

  Group tests, They’re a controversial topic among students at San Luis Obispo High School. It’s clear that students either love or hate them. These kinds of tests were created to encourage group work and collaboration, but often this is not what occurs. 

  “It’s problematic when the teacher chooses one test to grade and it feels like your grade is depending on someone else’s ability to get everything down and not make mistakes. I also think that in a way, that’s a lot to ask of someone especially if it is not their strongest subject,” said junior Aria Olsen. 

  If schools insist on using group tests, changes need to be made in the method they are graded.

  “[If] people work together in groups, each test should be graded individually instead of as a whole,” said sophomore Chloe Hanshew. 

  Having only one random test get graded is a one way street to unnecessary stress, it ruins the benefits of collaboration when the only goal is to make sure all the tests match perfectly, if two classmates disagree they shouldn’t be forced to settle on one student’s idea of what is right. 

  “The worst part of group tests is that students are graded off of other students’ failures, mistakes they wouldn’t have made themselves, and their grades are brought down based on something they can’t control,” said Hanshew. 

  Very few things compare to the amount of frustration when students lose points on something they knew how to do, but couldn’t convey to their group. It is also awful for the person who made the mistake, even if nobody outwardly blames them for it. The guilt of hurting other peoples’ grades is not fun. 

  “It is also bad if your test is the one being graded because if you make a stupid mistake, the whole group knows your test was graded, and knows you messed up,” said Olsen. 

  Still, they must have been created for a reason, and many people find them helpful, so what can we do to get the best of both worlds? 

  “I have found that a majority of students end up in a group where one person is better than the others and can help those who are struggling a little. There are always one or two that are farther behind and then one or two that are in-between. But overall, everyone can benefit from a group test and so I think they are helpful. The best way to fully understand and comprehend subject matter is to transfer the knowledge to a place where you can teach others,” said math teacher Blake Bristol.   

  It is a difficult thing, giving students the opportunity to help each other can be very beneficial, and getting rid of group tests entirely is not necessarily the solution. Grading every individual separately, while still letting them collaborate, will relieve stress on all students, whether they are comfortable in their math skills or not. 

   “I imagine that they are here to stay. Though, we need to, as a department, look at our structure and see if any improvements could be made,” said Bristol. 

  Group tests were created to help students, now they need to change for the students too. The previous experiment is over, everyone should get the grade that reflects their work. 

  In the end, Tigers, are adjusted group tests the answer or do they need to be erased from SLOHS? 

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