Since an early age my parents have told me that any grade I get on a test, a project, or a report card is not reflective of my intelligence. They know it will only hold me back and confine my identity to whether or not I can demonstrate my knowledge in a medium that so often devalues the importance of being a learner before a test taker.
I had translated this academic mentality into thinking tests could never be of value to my personal pool of knowledge, and grades could only be useful for the education system to “put me in my place.” That conclusion allowed me to become more aware of our construct of education, thus giving me the desire to be involved in its reformation.
But I was wrong. There will always be a need to track understanding and the expansion and evaluation of that understanding. So tests will always have value; they are the ability to quantify a piece of academic growth. But it’s not the tests that were my issue, it’s how we treat the answers. How are we to grow when we aren’t allowed to be wrong without penalty?