Thoughts on Testing, Exams, Evaluation

Please bear with me here if only for a moment. I’ve had this notion on my mind for quite some time now, and this is a great place to start laying it out. Topic: Tests, Test taking, Exams, the lot.

I have heard more rhetoric in the last oh….realistically, perhaps ten years about this idea of testing. Any educator worth their salt knows full well the value of testing. It is the other folks–parents, progressive minded pseudo-teachers, liberal-minded quasi-educated people who really think they know something about learning, types of learning, cognitive development, heck…human development in general that frighten me crazy.

Seriously there is such a movement of those who reside to the left, that feel ‘tests, or testing’ isn’t necessarily viable or creditable. As for me…the worst test taker in the history of humankind…would simply like to know the following:

Why? Why not test students? Certainly we need a ‘benchmark’ as it stands in order to place every individual where they rightly belong; what do you think?

From the onset of learning, professionals need to know how individuals will be placed–or–do we just randomly choose or simply go by age, gender, ethnicity, or orientation? C’mon people you want to be in the right class don’t you?

That last question reminded me of an episode of ‘Malcolm in the MIddle’ when the family finds out there’s something ‘different’ about Malcolm. All they really know is that young Malcolm has been ‘tagged’ for a special learning group. All during the episode Malcolm and the family believe he’s headed to Room 4 where the developmentally challenged hold on to each others belts to form a line when walking so no student gets left behind.

For most Malcolm fans we come to find out that he is of the Gifted and Talented (‘G/T’) and is so far ahead of his peers the professionals want to develop and continually challenge Malcolm to become all he can be. Anyone ever see Doogie Hauser, M.D.?

Standardized testing is just one of the ways that individuals are assessed on what they know and where they begin the learning process, that’s all…nothing more.

Much, much more on Testing later…

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