Most kids hate tests and with good reason.
They hate the tension and judgements that accompant them. They hate the fact that teachers use tests to manipulate and bribe them to study.
I teach children from around 40 schools. The one common thread is the number of tests children do.
We are doing more and more of them.
Scores are regularly given to parents who often have no idea what they mean. “Michael is only reading at level 3!”
Parents need to know:
- What do these levels mean?
- How many levels are there?
- What level should Michael be reading at?
- How can he be helped?
It is not fair to just give out arbitrary data and use it to worry parents and make them feel uneducated and ignorant.
Many schools test weekly and this of course reduces the hours available for teaching.
Whatever happened to observations, samples of work, video obs and so on?
What does a test really measure?
What do we REALLY learn?
Quite often tests mainly measure ability to read instructions – not necessarily a deep understanding of the test subject area.
To get that level of understanding we need to TALK to children.
This morning I assessed a child and I received FAR more information from my casual conversations with him rather than my battery of formal tests.
Even the subtexts- the body language, the yawns, the animation that occurred when we discussed his interests- all these gave me SO much more information than my formal testing packages.
Let’s get back to REAL assessments where we take the time to get to know children, determine their specific needs, learning styles and therefore make education plans that really work!