Friday, January 21, 2011

Uniformity Impossible

empty head
No matter how hard anyone tries, it is impossible for an exam to be secure when the same or a similar exam is given different periods all day long.  It is impossible to count the number of times kids have walked into my classroom and asked me how to do questions that are on the exam they are about to take.

I understand the need for some sort of uniformity in grading and testing but giving the same exam over a 12 period span of time is ludicrous and to insist this exam count more than any other exam is even more ridiculous.

The college solves this problem by giving every teacher a broad outline and sample questions to follow and then allows them to create their own exam, an exam that must be approved by the department.  Yes, it involves more work but it is a more valid exam. 

Math, as far as I know, is the only department in the school that insists on giving the same exam all day long.  The math teachers are bright and competent.  Surely they are capable of making up their own exam for their own students.


Anonymous said...

I'm assuming that this would not work at your scale, but we run 3 exam days... each day there is a 2 hour morning subject, multiple lunches and study halls, and then a two hour afternoon subject.

There is an organization challenge - getting kids to room assignments - in some ways trickier than the regents because it is the whole school. In other ways, because whole classes get scheduled together, it's not so bad.

There is the administrative annoyance of scheduling proctoring. There is the academic annoyance of losing three days to testing.

For kids, there is a huge plus of two exams per day, and nothing else those days.

From the teacher's viewpoint, the exams are secure (all math given at the same time), there are proctors, so the teacher can move between rooms, checking, answering questions, and as a bonus there is a block of time long enough for a good test (semi-regents?)

I like it. But I am not sure it would be easy to scale up to the size of your place. (We do have a conflict period at the end, but I have a feeling you have many more kids with strange permutations that involve 3 Englishes or 2 maths). Also, we limit our students to 6 major classes, I have a feeling you allow kids to pack much more in.


Pissedoffteacher said...

Our school won't go for that schedule. It would make sense. I worked in a school years ago that did just that.