Day 88 (of 183) on exams as my daughter has now written more than I did…

Day 88 (of 183) on exams as my daughter has now written more than I did…

Even though I am a product of the BC public school system, I never wrote a provincial exam (and I turned out fine…..-ish). So as of today, with two (grade 10 whereas they were only for grade 12s in my day) provincials done, my daughter has written more finals than I had to. 

Yes there were some class finals, but as is common, if you had a certain % going into the final, writing it was optional. There was alsomy favourite – the final can only improve your overall score. Really – I like the idea – a one day test can’t reduce the achievement you have shown within the class, but if you can show improvement (that you learned) then then final score can go up (improving personal high scores is also the best way to play many video games). 

But I still worry about “one day events”

– sickness (hard to review or write when you are worried about an explosion of your internal organs)

– family dramas (can’t predict what happens to your loved ones but it can have a big impact on your psyche)

– as in sports, great prep work does not entire game-day success – there are always obstacles to overcome – from real (too cold a room) to perceived (flickering lights) and “hmmms” (student learn subject in one room can’t fully transfer learning to artificial testing zone aka gym)

And I still recall a conversation with a former lead educator who admitted that she usually knew how her students would do on the tests before they wrote it…..which of course begs the query: why bother. 

Exams were great in eras where standardization was needed (as Sir Ken points out: Public schools were not only created in the interests of industrialism—they were created in the image of industrialism. In many ways, they reflect the factory culture they were designed to support. This is especially true in high schools, where school systems base education on the principles of the assembly line and the efficient division of labor. Schools divide the curriculum into specialist segments: some teachers install math in the students, and others install history. They arrange the day into standard units of time, marked out by the ringing of bells, much like a factory announcing the beginning of the workday and the end of breaks. Students are educated in batches, according to age, as if the most important thing they have in common is their date of manufacture. They are given standardized tests at set points and compared with each other before being sent out onto the market. I realize this isn’t an exact analogy and that it ignores many of the subtleties of the system, but it is close enough.” 

― Ken Robinson, The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything

which leads to the ongoing discussion (as I flip through the notes and reading in my fathers almost 50 year old education journal) isn’t there better methods? And in fairness, I’m not against tests and testing, but when it is “the test”……well, even China is changing practice’s-college-entrance-exam-transformation/

A world without final exams? 



About technolandy

Principaling on the Pacific in Powell River BC Pushing 'technologization' in education: blending technology and curriculum seamlessly. Advocate for better understanding of Anxiety in Education (and use of self-regulation) Utilizing ePortfolios & Descriptive Feedback to personalize learning!
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