According to the results of a recent study, the students of today are gripped by the haunting fear of failure in their tests. Most schools around the world emphasize on conducting tests throughout the year, in an attempt to regularly evaluate the performance of their students.
Even though target-setting might be a good thing in itself, it has been discovered that it has an adverse effect on the self-esteem and all-round development of young children, if they are made to face dozens of such tests, throughout the school year.
What Target-Setting Involves
Target-setting is a common practice in schools, which was initiated with the intent of helping students improve their grades, by bracing them for repeated tests on varied concepts. It was also designed to help raise standards in school by training students to perform under pressure.
Its Influence on Students
Although target-setting was designed for the welfare of students everywhere, a number of studies, including one conducted by The Association of Teachers and Lecturers on approximately 1,000 teachers, have highlighted the not-so-rosy aspects of this evaluation-method.
Such research has pointed out that the practice of target-setting compels students to come under pressure, particularly when they cannot match up to the rigorous system of tests throughout the academic year. Such students become irritable and frustrated. This deters them from focusing on their skills and leisure activities.
Even after working hard, many students obtain results that fail to match up to those of their classmates. This can have a hazardous effect on their self-esteem. Such students then begin to focus only on their low test-results, instead of giving the necessary importance to their non-academic skills.
Degradation of Emotional Health
If such students receive low grades in their tests on a regular basis, it could lead to the development of suicidal tendencies or depression. Counseling sessions might then be required for young children, who might have otherwise never needed such services.
Lack of Overall Development
Teachers have also admitted to the fact that they tend to modify their teaching-method to suit the current practice of target-setting. 60 per cent of the teachers who were spoken to in this study admitted that their teaching focusses on preparing students to score better grades in their tests, instead of helping them hone their skills and leave school after becoming well-rounded young people.
What Must Be Done
In an attempt to deal with this situation, the Department for Education in the United Kingdom has voiced their views on the current education system that merely involves multiple tests and revisions. They have modified their national curriculum so as to reduce the number of tests and allow teachers to lay greater emphasis on the all-round development of their students, instead of merely guiding them on how to score better grades.
Likewise, nations around the world are revamping their educational systems to boost the self-esteem of their students, instead of lowering their self-esteem. Students are being taught to focus on their skills, including sports and music, besides striving to score well academically.