How Is Shannon Nichols's Proficiency Essay

842 Words 4 Pages
In her narrative “Proficiency,” Shannon Nichols assesses her transition from a passionate, inspired writer to an apathetic English student who almost did not pass her senior year standardized test in writing. The author, now a college, recounts the disappointment and frustration she experienced after months fretting over Ohio state’s Proficiency test, only to fail by half a point in writing, her strongest subject. Puzzled, Nichols wondered how all of her teachers and friends could love her writing, but the state graders could fail her without explanation. She brushed the test off this time, though, reasoning that she would improve here scored the next time; however, Nichols failed once again by half a point. At first, she was devastated – she …show more content…
Just like Nichols, I hear stories from friends about how hard it is for them to take test, but they do so well in their classes. I hear stories about how others have spent so much money for one test, only to make low scores because of a bad time in their life, or how they had taken the test for free, received a low score because they did not know what to expect, failed it, and could not afford to take it again. I had similar difficulties with end of course exams in junior high school, tests we could not retake no matter how substandard our scores had been. Hearing her story, along with all these others, provokes me to wonder why colleges and high schools take numbers into concern more than they do students’ efforts and backgrounds. Why does the amount of hours we studied not matter? Why does the time we spent working not factor into a college’s admission decision? Why do States care more about their numbers than their individuals? Nichols’ story of failing a state standardized test and losing her love of writing because of it shows readers the detrimental effects of using standardized test scores as a judgement for a student’s skill level. I identified with her expressions of fear and doubt toward her favorite subject, and it exhibited the failure of an education system toward all of its

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