Test? What Test?

As a teacher that is one of the most annoying thing you can hear “Test? What Test?” I have just been talking aobut it for days now, hello?! Lately “assessments” and “tests” have been on my mind. Not the big standardized ones (boooo) but the every week/day types of assessment. Last week while sitting in my daughter’s gymnastics class, the older class was stretching and the group of girls were talking about school, they all went to the same one. They did not like their 6th grade science teacher (gasp, I am sure my kids don’t always like me, it is 6th grade lol) and were talking about how stupid she was.  This caught my attention. What makes this teacher so stupid was “I made Cs on both of my tests but I have an A in her class.” That made me laugh because I may also be an idiot too if the gymnastics girls were to judge me. I may not have students with Cs on test with As, but I know for a fact I have plenty with Fs on tests that have C averages.

Well here is how and why this “stupid” teacher has grades this way. A test happens one day out of the 2 to 4 weeks I spend on a unit. During that unit kids make graphic organizers about what they know. They participate in class discussions, peer discussions, and sometimes lead discussions. Students make posters, vote on edmodo, draw pictures, present information to the class. You cannot do any of this without knowing the material. Duh! Well sometimes students try to do it without doing more than copying or reading from a text book, but they learn fast they will have to redo. A test is just one day, yes it is used to summarize all the information from the unit, but I can prove piece by piece they know or do not know the material. Everyone has had a bad day or have been distracted so this test is not a good measure of an entire year. Plus t has happened more than once a student makes As on tests but Ds in a class – any one can memorize a study guide but not have a clue what it is about!

To use more than a test to assess students takes time and creativity, but you know sometimes a “test” with flour and a rock can sometimes be more accurate than a pen and pencil test.