Today in science class we got back our test from last week to do test corrections, because apparently our teacher was a little disappointed with how the majority did. Personally, I didn’t do as well as I would have liked, but I still did a decent job and was in the higher percentage of scores. The thing was that most of my mistakes were just dumb. At least 3 of them were just from reading something wrong, but it doesn’t really matter because it is multiple choice, so if it is wrong, it is wrong. I also wasn’t the only one that had simple mistake errors. A large portion of the class got really annoyed with themselves for how they missed things that they knew the answer to once they saw that they got it wrong.
This is not at all to hate on my science class or teacher, because that is actually one of my favorite classes and the teacher is amazing, but the whole thing with tests bugs me in general. I don’t think test really show that you know the material. You can have people who memorize facts well, but don’t understand the facts that do better than someone who understands but it bad at taking tests. The test only shows how good your memory was when you were in that moment. Everyone can have the occasional mind blank, and these days you almost have a computer, so if you really need some random specific detail, you can look it up.
I wonder what would happen if a class was given a test, that you can finish that day. Then you are allowed to study more over the next night and when you come back to class the next time, the questions you have gotten wrong are marked. Everyone needs feedback. In the real world you usually have at least one person to check over what you did before you give it submit is. Every good author needs their editor. When the students come back the next day, they can then try to fix their mistakes. They still wouldn’t have their notes or computer or other students, but they would be allowed to try and see the things they got wrong and fix it. There are a ton of factors that play into how a student preforms on a test, so by giving this second chance, students can take the test with slightly different factors to possibly improve their performance. Failing does nothing unless you get the chance to notice and correct your mistakes.
Another possible social experiment with test could be giving a test, then the next day the students take the exact same test to see the differences in the results.
What if students got to work with partners on a test, or the whole class worked together (which I believe I have suggested before as well)?
What if eventually we just didn’t have written test? What if we had actual situations where we really had to prove we could use the information and not just have it memorized?
Standard, multiple choice, individual, one day test, test memory in a moment; not a student’s understanding of material. I think a great first step to moving into a 3.0 school would be to experiment with different ways to test students understanding of material.
(And to think, this wasn’t even what I planned on blogging about today.)