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Monday, May 21, 2012

Reflective Blog Post 4 - Semester is almost over!!!!

This week's blog prompt:

Reflect on the idea that tests are the only objective assessments of student learning.

I had to laugh out loud when I read the prompt to this blog. Many people confuse the words assessment and test. They are NOT one and the same. Webster defines the word assessment as “the action or instance of assessing: appraisal”.  As a teacher, assessing student knowledge is basically assessing if a student has mastered the objectives that I, as the teacher, have set forth.  It is of vital importance that a teacher understand the difference between assessing a student’s knowledge and simply ‘testing’. Most people, many teachers included, think of testing as a written test. There are, in fact, many ways to test for knowledge.
Referring back to the prompt for this week, if the writer of the blog prompt was using the word ‘tests’ in this prompt to stand for a written assessment, then no, a written assessment is not the only objective assessments of student learning. However, if the writer is intending the word to stand for all assessments that are ‘tests’ of a student’s knowledge of the objectives, then my answer would have to be probably!  It is hard to answer the question without being able to completely clarify what the intent of the writer is asking.
There are many ways to ‘test’ a student for knowledge. In science, I use lab assessments that are hand’s on often. A student must prove proficient in the objective that is often a lab skill that must be mastered. I would think in many other classes, there are varying ways that a teacher will ‘test’ for certain objectives. For instance, in a physical education class, a teacher could play the game that they have been studying about and if the student can play the game using the correct rules of the game, that would prove the objectives for that lesson have been met. Many teachers have students create projects or teach others about a certain topic. I think there are so many ways to prove the objectives have been met without a written test but there must be a way to ‘test’ the student for learning goals.
All these paragraphs to say this: It depends on your definition of a ‘test’ to determine if you agree or disagree with the blog prompt!
Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. (2012).  Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Retrieved May 21, 2012, from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tests

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