Overtom's weblog

TESTS AT SCHOOL  (17 february 2004)

Teachers will often ask their students to study a few things for the next lesson. After all, if you want to master mathematics, French language or whatever, it's a good idea to go in small steps. It's easier to learn four hundred words after you have first studied eight times fifty words than just studying them in one go.

But if the teacher never checks if the students have done what he has asked them to do, the chances are big that after a while the students will stop learning what the teacher asks. After all, the master's eye makes the horse fat.

But how to check? Doing an oral test has a few disadvantages, such as:

  • It can take away too much time from the lesson;
  • Not many students can be tested at a time.

Consequently, it's often better to do a written test. For the teacher this has a few disadvantages:

  • It takes time to write and copy the test, however small it may be;
  • The subject matter of a small test is often so simple that students will try to cheat;
  • It takes time to correct the results and give marks.
Each of these disadvantages is enough to discourage teachers from holding such small tests. I can understand that a teacher who has done eight lessons a day does't feel like spending few additional hours, just to make and correct tests. 

But if that's the reason for not doing such tests, let the teacher be honest and say "Sorry, but I haven't got the time to do that kind of thing." and refrain from using arguments about learning things by heart being useless, or about everything being the student's own responsibility.

The second argument - that it's usually not very difficult for the students to cheat - is so interesting that I would like to deal with it in my next weblog.

top of page

statistics by pcintelligence.nl

bottom of page