There is always something in the press about testing and how the kids are failing. Testing is a thing I associate with science. The importance in science is a fair test and this requires

  • Change one thing (independent variable)
  • Measure something (dependent variable)
  • Keep everything else the same (controlled variable)

This makes sense right. If, for instance, you grew a plant in two different places but were actually testing the the nutrient you added one of the plant’s water, how would you know if it was the nutrient or if one got more sun therefore causing it grow bigger faster…

Should this not be the same when we are ‘testing’ children, as isn’t the goal to see who knows what. So therefore tests should be held under normal life conditions, tests on kids who primarily work on computers should be done on computers, kids who work slow should have more time, kids who have to move should, the talkers can talk… etc

If it is that we are testing how kids respond to pressure rather than knowledge then they should be doing something we already know they know under pressure.. however if it is whether they can time manage how about we don’t mark the content but the process!

Maybe what we are at the moment testing is unfair due to the changed conditions of our lives. That there is no time to just read or think, it’s all that scrolling? Perhaps we are testing the results of National Standards and its reductive approach to teaching and learning… all that lack of context, the ‘will this be assessed?’ feeling? There are just too many variables to say.

My child likes a test, it’s a challenge and she knows that if she gets stuff wrong all it is saying is that she needs to know more about something. This is possibly due to her scatterlogical maths education, if some mathematical idea turns up we talk about and there is the occasional stuff I chuck at her. This last maths test she felt like doing showed me we had never actually given names to the numbers after the decimal point… this is called formative assessment and as it is her education she could also see what I hadn’t told her!!!!

I let her talk during the test, ask questions, and sit the test when she wanted. It didn’t look anything like what one would expect a test to look as I was truly wanting to know the answer to one variable. What did she know?

We sort of marked the test but really she just pointed out what knowledge she was missing to me and told me it was my fault and it is.

(I didn’t do the special test analysis that gives a wee dial that I do not understand…)

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