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Why wouldn’t you want your teachers to know what you know?

Not taking the test

I can not stop thinking we are testing our students for all the wrong reasons. Yes they need grades to attend university, and yes grades are mostly used to differentiate; who gets to go where, as far as studies at university are concerned. Still, If you really want to learn and do well in university; why would you cheat to get a good grade? Why wouldn’t you want your teachers to know, that there are certain areas where you need more help? If assessment throughout the year was just that; a way for the teachers to figure out what their students need to work on, and if it was the same way for the students, “I need to know how to get better? What then?

Many teachers do not use grades in formative assessment.  Just comments on where the students are and where they need to go. If admittance to universities and colleges reflected that, what then? If they had admission tests instead of grade requirements? Would our students be more motivated to learn? When I attended a language course in France the summer I was 16, I cheated on the placement test. The result; the summer course was way too difficult for me. Ok, I was 16, lesson learned. I still wonder if this is what is happening in school. The results are more important than learning.

These thoughts were inspired by the post by Will Richardson. I am sharing his blog post here:

Why do we need a test to show us what our students have “learned”?

Seriously. I’m asking.

It would seem to make more sense that what students learn should be transparent from day 1, not just captured in a number or score on day 45, or 180 or 2,160. I mean, shouldn’t we be able to see their learning inform and enhance their practice? Shouldn’t we be focusing on them doing something with what they’ve learned rather than simply telling it back to us at some predetermined hour?

Apparently, we don’t know what they’ve learned until they take that test and get that score. Until they’ve studied or crammed or been tutored or, in some cases, cheated their way to a number.

Because apparently, that makes us “accountable.” That’s what makes it “count.”

We’re sending some pretty unhealthy messages to our kids when we make it about a snapshot in time rather than a lifetime of learning.

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