Aptitude tests for school students – Pros and Cons
Aptitude tests have for long been ignored by our education system. We simply have two types of people when it comes to making career decisions – ones who follow their passion and the other half simply go with the cliché of engineering/medical for the genius students and commerce/arts for the rest. Aptitude tests are designed to help students assess their area of interest and accordingly choose their stream and career later on. Going by their strength and interest, students can make the right decision for themselves without having to depend on societal pressure of what to pursue and what not. Their career can be quite fulfilling with only they could know what is best for them. HRD ministry has formed a task with the officials of CBSE and NCER, along with psychometric experts to design aptitude tests that could guide students and parents about what is individually good for each student depending upon their scores in the test. However, some have argued that aptitude tests are not very accurate in judging the area in which a student can excel and that they can be misleading sometimes.
1. Good for comparison : A student can be good at multiple subjects but since his career can only be focused on one, it becomes difficult for a student to decide upon one area of his interest. Aptitude tests will compare his excellence and performance in each of these area and accordingly present a comparison that would be easy to follow. Standard tests are not capable of differentiating the performance of students based on individual interest.
2. Effective : Aptitude tests are found to be more effective in testing the capability of students as compared to other standard tests and exams. Students freely answer the questions without being pressurized to score well and hence are found to be paying more heed to those questions that are related to their areas of interest. Moreover, these tests are usually designed to give the appearance of bearing fun to solve questions. They are visually appealing and the intervention of psychometrics ensures that the test doesn’t stress them at all.
3. Just for an inkling : Students are far anxious these days compared to how they were a decade back at ninth standard. They are always torn between what to choose for their career and what they really are capable of. Psychologists can attest to the fact that most of the anxiety and stress related disorders in students are out of not being able to fathom what they would do in life or whether they are capable of living up to the competitive standard these days. Providing them just an inkling of their aptitude and capability would be a good idea and might relieve them positively.
4. Not a success meter definitely : There should be no wrong ideas given to students about these tests being the ultimate meter to measure how successful one can be in a certain field. They should be made to understand that the aptitude test is just a general test to help you know what your strong potentials are so that you could consider that as an option for your career and your weaknesses too in order to help you try harder in that field if you want to give it a shot.
5. Keeping up with time : Requirements in all professional fields keep improving and changing and so should the skills and abilities of students if they are to pursue a career in that field. Since these tests will be designed by professionals who know well, they will cater to the rising needs and would help students understand what is required out of them to make it big in that particular field. It would help them get prepared in advance with all the skill sets known and abilities tested.
1. Negligence to vocational subjects :These tests are mostly designed to check interest and performance on theoretical subjects and hence the vocational subjects like dance, music, art, physical abilities are left out. Students who are gifted in these fields would find the test useless or might be made to believe that they should rather focus on commerce or science if the tests shows they are capable of performing well in them.
2. Not for below average students : These tests are rather unfair towards students who are below average. They are usually known to perform poorly in these tests owing to differences in their learning ability and means of communications too. Students from rural areas, for instance, are not comfortable with these tests that are focused on advanced learning techniques that only students of high end schools receive. Logic, verbal reasoning, and IQ – which aptitude tests mostly rely on – is not everyone’s piece of cake and this tests can seriously dishearten weaker students.
3. Too early to judge : Students of ninth standard are too young and carefree to be burdened with judgmental tests that would present results of what he/she is to become later on in life. At an age where they are still learning, still growing up and not yet ready to fly out of the nests, these aptitude tests can have a negative effect. They can still learn techniques and focus on newly found interests that they might lack at the moment. Aptitude tests should perhaps be conducted only after eleventh or twelfth standard.
4. Time consuming : Students of ninth and tenth standard already have a vast syllabus to cover with rising challenges and the kind of pressure being put on them to study harder and better. They are usually left with no time for any other co-curricular activity during these two years when their entire focus is on their performance at board exams. Adding aptitude tests to their list of troubles would only make it stressful and despiteful for them.
As suggested by HRD Ministry, the aptitude tests at school will he kept optional and not mandatory upon very student to take the test. This might only lead to very few students turning up for the test which will simply rob the test of its original purpose of guiding the future generation of our nation to achieve what is best for them. Yes, the test can get judgmental hence making it obligatory on teachers and experts to make students understand that the test is not meant to be the ultimate judge of their career and future but just an attempt to provide a hint of their strength and weaknesses. There would be right counselling needed for students before the results of these tests are declared. This might just be a vague point in our education system. If the drawbacks are taken care of in advance, the aptitude test can prove to be rather helpful and stress preventing savior for students of high school.