On Bad Test-Takers

Credit: iStock.com/AntonioGuillem
Credit: iStock.com/AntonioGuillem
“One of the best ways to be bad at something is to tell yourself that you are bad at it” (Holmes, 2021, p. 293). This applies to students who believe they can’t take tests. “Despite the prevalence of the bad test-taker as part of the popular academic lexicon, there is no specific definition of this term and little research on the concept” (p. 293). What’s generally assumed is that a bad test-taker has studied and does understand the material, but something about the testing environment prevents the student from demonstrating that knowledge. This assumption also rests on the idea that test-taking involves a natural ability, not given at birth, that skill development will not remediate.

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