What do you think about tests?


I know you find the assessment in our class to be a bit unusual. I know it’s uncomfortable, disconcerting, and possibly panic-inducing at times. I’ve also heard some of you say that it’s liberating, fair, and reasonable.

So I’ll share an article with you that I read this evening. It’s written by Alfie Kohn, who is very well known and respected for his ideas about assessment and evaluation. He’s describing a classroom that I haven’t achieved yet, but I’m working towards. Take a moment to read it and tell me what you think.

Here’s the link: Why the Best Teachers Don’t Give Tests

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2 thoughts on “What do you think about tests?

  1. Really good article! Your “tests” aren’t conventional though; we’re given time and notes and the marking is not based solely on the answer, so I really like them. Maybe a project where we made up a multi step question would be a cool assessment too

    1. That’s what I’d like to see too – larger projects instead of short, written test.

      I’m trying to not reinvent the wheel as well (see here: https://twitter.com/bgrasley/status/528564525805867008) but I’m not getting very far.

      The trouble is the amount of background you need in stats to be able to tackle the really interesting questions. We’ve spent a lot of time on “small” skills this semester, but we need to move towards more useful analysis in order to have deeper learning with real applications.

      I want to see a project-based focus – you folks come up with an interesting question, one that requires research and analysis, and then you spend a bunch of time answering it (and developing the stats skills along the way). There would be fewer formal evaluations of written products and many more informal observations and conversations. The greatest challenge I can envision is keeping up momentum so that everyone works hard for 75 minutes every day. That’ll be a team effort – student willingness and drive, and teacher monitoring and encouragement.

      I’m game, though – we’ve developed a lot of skill and a lot of thinking, so once I have the parameters for this kind of task hammered out I think we should be good to go. I’m excited for meaningful applications of our learning.

      Thanks for commenting, Danielle!

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