What grade did you get? By asking that, are we really just asking how well someone did at memorization and regurgitation? What is a grade? What does it mean? How well does it reflect a person’s learning of a subject? I could go on a little longer with these questions but you get the idea. Be careful how your answer, I am grading you there. If professors, teachers, educators want to assess the information a person has retained and provide feedback as to that assessment, we must do better than a test and grade. As a new professor of record, I tell my students they all have an A in the class. To maintain that, they must be active in class participation and provide some evidence they are learning something. As long as a student finishes the semester knowing one new cool and exciting (yes, this is arbitrary) fact, they have succeeded in the class. To assess them, my assessments are not based on specific question answer tests. Rather, I give essay tests where they just need to use the stuff discussed in class and make a strong argument. I don’t have right or wrong answers as long as you use valid information to support your choice. I used to, and still do to an extent, suffer from test anxiety. I no longer become physically ill and have to use the bag (you know what I mean) but I still get anxious and nauseous before taking a test. Trust me, it is no fun filling out a multiple choice sheet with sweaty hands. Why do we, the educational system, put students through this today? The readings offer critiques of our current system and discussion for alternatives but does that matter? We need to break the system, turn it upside down, share ideas on how to get better assessments. I don’t think we are even testing the students but rather testing ourselves on how well we pass on information. If that is the case, just give them answers, then give them an A, they give us a positive SPOT review and we all win.
Yeah for no education where everyone wins (or is it loses but graduates?).
I think this blog is a difficult test this week. I don’t agree with Standard Of Learning tests. I actually think the acronym SOL is very appropriate. I don’t care for current testing or assessment systems still used in higher education, so staying positive is difficult. RISE UP GEDI and CHANGE THE WORLD!! At least the way we test students and ourselves.