Hello to my readers.
Today I am going to be talking about a situation that everybody gets through in some part of their lives. When we are students we are told that we MUST be tested to be able to get a grade. The teacher would only tell us to study because an evaluation was coming up. As I remember my high school time I realized that I was only graded by Tests and hardly two teachers evaluate the effort I was putting on understanding and doing the best work I could at the time. I certainly had a really bad time while learning English because I knew I needed to pass the tests to be able to graduate from high school. What a big word right? TEST! Ho well, that is how we used to be graded, but Does this really mean that this is the only way of testing/grading a student?
No it is not the only way! And the way I was tested was definitely not the best way of doing it. As I said, the teacher needed to focus on my weaknesses and giving me some feedback so I could go back and fix those things. She should have given me a descriptive feedback and then I would personally focused on revising and reflect on what I got wrong.
I would have loved to be graded in an Informal way first so I could rearrange my own knowledge and correct myself. Then I could have taken a Formal assessment with less frustration and more confidence of my knowledge.
Informal Assessment: this is when we observe learners to see how well they are doing something and then give comments on their performance.
Formal Assessment: when we asses learners through test or exams and give their work a mark or a grade.
I believe that the best way to know how much a learner know is by counting the work done in class, projects and other tasks. One example could be if a teacher is expecting a specific answer but instead of giving a test, he/she asks a question and receives maybe the wrong answer, but this will give the teacher and students the opportunity to correct the mistake and understand why it was right or wrong.
The word TEST cause a lot of stress, but what could we do to make it easier to handle? I think a quiz given after certain units could be really helpful and by making it as a collaborative quiz is a good way to cease pressure and to bounce ideas. This kind of pop quizzes can be taken as reviews but in a collaborative way, I do believe that these assessments along with a constructive feedback should influence the students to keep track of their own knowledge, build self-confidence and accomplish their own goals.
One of the videos our teacher Ellen asked us to see proved that by removing the Test application in a classroom the interest and creativity rises. In the other hand if we start a class and say that we expect them (students) to pass an exam and that the percentage has to be higher than 80%, the fear of failure increases and this makes our students less motivated. As a result we don’t let our student grow and express their own aptitudes, so how could we grade them if we are lacking their own abilities taking in consideration that any student learns in the same way. Throughout these practices we guide our students to grow and learn at their own pace, so if this is really working why are we still grading our students with test of less than one hour long? Grading the classroom activities has several advantages. In this case the evaluation is based on a wide range of student work done over a long period of time, rather than on a single paper-pencil test taken like a said in a certain period of time. This could be a great example of Standardized tests.
STANDARIZED TEST: is one that is administered under standardized or controlled conditions that specify where, when, how, and for how long students may respond to the questions or “prompts.”
If I get to choose I would rather choose an alternative test which is one that as teacher we could do focusing on the age, gender, cultural background and interest of the students. This will make more sense to our students of why they should take that exam; it will definitely be something meaningful to do.
ALTERNATIVE TEST: method that is an alternative to traditional paper-and-pencil tests. Alternative assessment requires students to demonstrate the skills and knowledge that cannot be assessed using a timed multiple-choice or true-false test. It is usually done by the teacher focusing on the graded knowledge of their students.
Finally, I will share with you the idea of taking short quizzes or long exams. Personally I had no frustration at all when expecting a quiz. Otherwise, when a teacher stood up in a classroom and talked about a test I freak out and I didn’t even focus on the new topics. So what is the need of grading with a long test if we can do quizzes to measure how we are doing, making mistakes and building more self-confidence? It is necessary to test where we are, then keep testing by collaboration quizzes (not graded, only using constructive feedback), and then give a deadline to a test, but this way students will feel more confident of their knowledge and will be motivated to do the assessment.