I had some great conversation this week around assessment and what the heck that looks like anymore. There is much confusion but seems to be some agreement that the days of large quantities of marks are passed and that testing should not be the be all and end all. As a matter of fact – between #TTOG (Teachers Throwing Out Grades) on twitter and the two Pathways workshops I attended it appears there aren’t too many tests in elementary school anymore.
I think this is a problem.
Weird huh. A year ago I wouldn’t have said that.
What I have learned over the past few years is that test taking is still a skill required by students entering secondary and post secondary school, as is note taking. I used to fight it by saying “I am not giving tests, they don’t do any good for students”. I now think on the contrary to some extent.
I think we can all agree that students will not write tests in their working world – and that test taking is not a skill they need for tomorrow. But until there is a system wide change in education, test taking is a skill they need today. Not that I agree with tests or formal exams. I really don’t. It’s difficult to get an accurate measurement from tests. However, tests could be a good benchmark.
Either way – I continue to have grade 9 students visit showing me their test marks. Very factual and knowledge based tests – but tests nonetheless.
I dis-serviced them by not testing them last year.
OK, so I am going to argue with myself out loud here. Part of me thinks the soft skills I modeled (resiliency, initiative, organization) would allow them to adapt to any environment. But I am not sure how many of them developed all these skills to their fullest potential in grade 8.
So my questions to you:
- Do you give tests?
- Why not?
- Does it depend on grade?
- Does it depend on subject matter?
I’d love some more insight into other people’s practices.
Photo Source: http://maui.hawaii.edu/tlc/wp-content/uploads/sites/53/2013/11/testing.jpg