Testing, testing, and more testing! That's the philosophy of our educational system.
For lack of time and energy, let's start at the high school level. (And don't kid yourself, elementary and middle school students are tested and standardized tested to no end too starting as early as Kindergarten.) It doesn't matter if you have been tested throughout the entire year on a certain subject, it doesn't matter how well you have done or if you aced every test thus far... before you can go on, you have to take yet another test...finals and end-of-year exams.
In the state of Texas, there are tests called TAKS tests that you must pass (in nearly every grade level) in order to advance to the next grade. (I think they are going to change to the STAAR (?) test soon). And if that is not enough, there are Exit Level tests to see if you are "qualified" to graduate. Many schools encourage you to take the PSAT. Some even require that you pass the PSAT before you can take the real SAT.
So, here you are...you have finally graduated (or are close to it) and want to pursue college. Well, guess what? MORE tests! They have to see if you are "ready to handle college classes", right?!? So, now you have to pay for and pass the SAT and ACT tests...even though it's generally acknowledged that standardized tests are not necessarily the best or most comprehensive manner of evaluating a student's talent or potential, it is the system in place at the majority of universities.
Fast forward several years, and you are finally ready to graduate from college. You've passed all your college classes and exams and have met all the requirements to get your degree...perhaps you are even at the top of your class with an excellent GPA. Guess what?!? More tests! In my case, my education degree required me to pay for and pass ExCET tests. Before I could even take those though, I had to pass the pre-ExCET test. Really?!? How ridiculous is that! They can't just let you take the real ones - Noooooo - you have to pass made up ones that don't even count before you can take the real ones.
Ok. So now, you have your degree and can start your career. Fast forward another several year when you decide to go back to college and pursue your Master's degree. Well, you guessed it! More tests!!! Now you have to pay for and pass your GRE. And it doesn't matter what master's degree you want to pursue (and yes, there are varying levels and difficulties of those)...you are lumped in there with everyone else taking the same GRE test to (...as the GRE website states...) "more closely reflect the kind of thinking you'll do in graduate or business school and demonstrates that you are ready for graduate-level work".
I've got news for them, have already started taking master's classes and have had not one ounce of trouble thus far, but you can only go so far before you are forced to take the GRE. Well, now that I have taken the GRE, and can honestly say the GRE is a HUGE, monumental waste of time and money and is a perfect display of what is wrong with the educational system. Grrr! And to make matters worse, NOT ONE question had anything to do with the master's degree I am pursuing. Really?!? So much for showing that I am "ready for graduate-level work" anywhere remotely related to the master's degree i am pursuing.
Can you tell I took that test today and am highly irritated about it?!?