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How the Educational System Affects our Attitude toward Test Taking

The system refers to the general educational environment found in our society. It includes teachers and administrators, the curriculum, students, parents and employers.

Teaching is considered both an art and a science. As an art, teaching is creative and represents the skill of motivating and imparting knowledge to students and thus changing behavior. As a science, teaching is based on certain principles of learning, behavior and psychology.

Teaching is one of the more noble professions. While teachers are frequently ridiculed, often underpaid and not held in very high esteem ("If you can't do anything else, you can always teach"), teachers who practice their art well can mold minds and change behavior.

Changing or modifying behavior (for the better) is the ultimate goal of learning and education. However, the system also can modify your behavior in a negative way -- with one example being instilling fear of test taking. Of course, this was not done intentionally. But test apprehension and anxiety are byproducts of the educational system's attempt to measure learning and success.

The rationale is that we must have some indicator, some method of measuring the level of learning that has taken place. This is most commonly a measurement test. If that test grade is accompanied by the teacher's frown, other students' ridicule or parental punishment, then taking a test even 30 years later as an adult may still result in sweaty palms, increased blood pressure and a general state of anxiety.