Today was all about testing for Biology and Earth Science. Open Book!
In many, but not all, cases I was able to work with the students to get high grades in the 90s and many aced the tests with 100s.
Unfortunately, there were students who typically score in the 40s, 50s and 60s who continued this today; in almost every case these kids thought they did really well. The Special Ed teacher in the room read the test aloud. This may have helped but the end result was still Fs.
These kids will all be able to retest but the test will be administered the same way and the results will be similar.
The higher grades…
There were a group of kids who aced the tests who are great test takers. Many of the kids, however, had 5 to 10 mistakes which lowered their grades as much as 25 points. For these kids I erased their incorrect answers and asked them to try again. Why?
I am a firm believer that testing is not always the best way of knowing how well a student understands material. The students were never given a chance to do this in prior testing teachers. They were not exactly sure what I was allowing them to do since all I told them in advance was to make sure they use pencils when writing the answers.
When they went back to their desks and reopened their books there was an obvious “spark” of added excitement and interest in finding the right answers. I was convinced without any doubt that the “spark” created a new interest in the material. I did not tell them the correct answers. This is still something they had to find out on their own!
Their new scores were as high as 100. You might ask if this is fair? I think it is since they still do the work and I was able to achieve my number one goal of nurturing the students.
The bad test takers…
I remember teaching my children when they were little. They learned the word Apple not because I spelled out the word apple or talked to them about a word. They learned the word Apple by associating it with a picture of an apple.
This makes me wonder if creating a testing system which would have photographs with questions. I am making the assumption of course that students with autism or other health impaired diagnosis, or simply students who are bad test takers, would do better if tests included associative visuals.
Please chime in.