Tests also are a means by which to ensure that I am doing my job properly as a teacher. Students need to learn and understand certain material, and tests ensure that students will study the material and then prove that they do know the material. Tests are a way to show school administrators and parents what material has been covered and how much of that has been learned by each student.
Unfortunately, there are cons to test-giving. One such problem is that a short test which does not take too much time to complete will only have a few questions, and each question will weigh heavily on the total grade. On a 10-question test, only 2 wrong answers will drop the students grade to a 80%, which may not be an accurate measurement of how well he knows the material. Longer tests, however, that could more fairly sample the students knowledge on a subject take a long time to complete, and students may have difficulty focusing on the test for that long of a time, or may be rushed to finish the test in the time allotted. Even the need to go to the bathroom during the test can have a negative effect as it will break the students concentration and cut away at the time the student has to complete it. It is also very difficult to avoid bias in test-giving.
Questions are inevitably biased somehow on multiple-choice tests especially. It is also difficult to make a test that tests the right thing. In a science test, how is it possible to create a test that does not negatively grade a student who has poor reading or comprehension skills, or even ADD, but an incredibly vast knowledge of science? Finally, students dread tests, and unhappy students make unhappy teachers.
Activity #1 Bibliography
Neill, M. (1990) Lets Cut Back on Standardized Testing. Mothering, Winter. Retrieved November 11, 2004, at http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0838/is_n54/ai_8283181
Schmitz, S. (1991) Achievement Testing – Critique of Standardized Achievement Tests. Mothering, Fall. Retrieved November 11, 2004, at http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0838/is_n61/ai_11360579
Wetzel, B. (2002, November-December) No more tests! Challenging standardized education – Ways of learning. Mothering. Retrieved November 11, 2004, at http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0838/is_2002_Nov-Dec/ai_100807177
Activity #2: Identify the major characteristics that distinguish a norm-referenced test, criterion-referenced test, and an alternative assessment instrument like a portfolio or an observation record. Discuss instructional settings and situations that require each of the three types of assessment instruments. (2-page)
Norm-referenced tests (NRTs) compare a persons test score against the scores.