The horrors of group testing

Math, a four letter conundrum that haunts the dreams of millions of students worldwide, is all around us in school. From trying to prove a right triangle has a ninety degree angle to the treacherous vector word problems, there’s never an end to the suffering. But one of the worst results of taking a math class is the academic grade that follows, the test that determines the knowledge you acquired from the past few weeks. But the problem with math isn’t just the individual tests, it’s the occasional group testing.

Hypothetically, what’s supposed to happen is that the teacher randomly chooses groups of two or three students to work together over a math test. The ideal situation is that everyone in the group studies for the test and aces it thanks to the power of teamwork. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. What actually happens is one of these three situations: you’re a smart student who ends up carrying the entire group, you don’t study and get a smart person in your group, or no one in your group knows anything because they were hoping the other members would study.

Ever since I started Math Analysis, I was thrust into the world of group testing. What pains me the most is that the teacher makes the test harder than normal. When one of my classmates asked why, her response was something like, “Because you guys are in groups, your brain power put together will make you do better!” “What brain power? What brain?” What my teacher failed to realize was that my entire class probably shared around five brain cells altogether on the good days. Long story short, we’re all failing.

Group tests have caused major problems for everyone I know in my math class. Rarely does one group get a high enough score to be satisfied with. Usually the grades consist of 40s, 50s, 60s, and the occasional lucky 70s. So this leads to my question, if group testing only brings low scores and frustrated high schoolers, what’s the point of having them?

In conclusion, group testing shouldn’t be welcomed into the doors of any math class. It’s hard enough to take a regular test, but increasing the difficulty because of having people work together is simply unreasonable. What teachers should be doing is allowing one to work independently. One should only be tested on a certain level of difficulty and tests should only be to see one’s level of knowledge over the course. So until then, my math grade will continue to drop slowly but surely thanks to group testing.