Testing is important for any number of reasons, whether it’s to see what you know, what you learned, or what you think. Today marked the second day of exams for my fourth standard section. The test to be tackled today: English.
For weeks prior to this, Sukanaya has spent every moment in the classroom preparing her students. We’ve read stories aloud, discussed themes and morals, dissected the grammer. It was all for this exam. The students seemed eager to begin and finish this exam. I asked a boy in my section, Adam (his name is changed to keep anonymity) how he was feeling before this exam. “I’m nervous but I will do well. Last year, I got 31 marks on my English exam out of 40 marks so I will do better than that. On science, I got 39 marks. I only missed one!” It amazed me that Adam remembered his scores to the last exam and I realized just how important these tests are. While I was growing up, I never felt a pressure to study for a standardized test. These kids felt the need to study. I told Adam that he was going to well and there was no need to worry. Not wanting to distract the students, I left the class and retreated to the library. It started in the morning after the first period and lasted about 3 periods. After an hour and a half, the kids were finished.
I came back to the classroom and asked the students how they did. Adam ran over to me and said, “I did so well! There was one question which I didn’t know. It was about a poet. But only one!” He was so relieved about his performance that I felt a calm come over him. We went over the answers so the kids could see their marks. After every section, children would whoop and holler about their scores. It was amazing to see how happy they were in their performances.
In the following days, the children in fourth standard will be tested over Math, Hindi, and Social Studies to name a few. I was asking Sukanaya about the grading of these tests. I just imagined the scores would be sent out to a company for them to mark. She told me that she will mark the exams and they must be returned to the students by the 30th. She has a little over 10 days to grade about 160 exams. I do not envy her position. The children will then move on to another section of the class and prepare for the next exams. But in the mean time, they’ll play their favorite game called Atlas.
Atlas is a simple game played with 2 people. One child will begin by saying a country or city, and the other child will respond with a country/city beginning with the letter the last one ended on. For example: one kid might say Pakistan, then the next may respond with Nepal. This game can go on forever and makes me feel extremely inadequate in my recollection of countries.
The knowledge the kids hold is incredible to me. Even their games revolve around what they know. There’s not a doubt in my mind that their exams will go extremely well.