"Bad test taker"

Discussion in 'General Education' started by 2ndTimeAround, Nov 17, 2018.

  1. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Nov 17, 2018

    I am really so over this cop-out. Guess what - you're a bad test taker because you don't know the material and cannot understand the concepts.

    sure, there might be one kid out of 5000 that has some actual test-taking disability. But not the 30-40% of the classes I'm seeing.

    And guess what else students and parents, there is a reason WHY your child does well on all of the classwork but bombs the test. Because classwork is based on compliance, not mastery. Oh, wait, your kid also does well on projects? What were those projects? What resources could he use on them? Because, chances are, most of your kid's grade was derived from what he could look up on the internet and copy down on a pretty poster board. And, chances are you helped him quite a bit at home. When he works on projects for me, in class, he doesn't fare any better than he does on his test.

    ok, rant over.
     
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  3. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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  4. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    I've never heard of teachers intentionally failing a test. What's the motivation behind that? What is the alternative if you don't pass?
     
  5. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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  6. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    That's awful!
     
  7. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    Way back when I was starting in the teacher program, we had to score above the 50th percentile on the ITBS test for grade 12 and pass a writing test. I still remember when we got our scores back. A couple of the people around me acted like I was a genius. Really? Is it THAT amazing that a college junior can score above the 50th percentile on a test for high school seniors? Even the professor complimented me on my scores. Ummm . . . thanks?

    I know that a lot of my classmates were retaking the test multiple times.

    "I'm not good at taking tests." Okay. Fine. Then DO SOMETHING about it.
     
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  8. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    The kids I know who are bad test takers tend to be really, really bright and their test taking skills bring them down to the 80% rather than being in the 95%. These kids tend to work slower which is why test taking is hard for them. They are brilliant, but not fast. They get most right but don't finish.

    The idea that 40% of people are blaming being a bad test taker only to fail the test shows that they don't know their stuff. About teachers not knowing their stuff, I wonder if this is why so many now believe that content is irrelevant and pedagogy is what is really important.
     
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  9. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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  10. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    My masters program wasn't in education, so I had to deal with a whole other mindset in classes. There was only one other teacher in my program. I was surprised at how many of them would skip class and not do the work. This was 25 years ago, too. Definitely not a new problem.
     
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  11. Backroads

    Backroads Fanatic

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    Nov 19, 2018

    I have heard this, too. Forgive me for being a dunce but... what exactly are "test taking skills"? I mean, you read a question or a prompt, you respond.
     
  12. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Groupie

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    I've only had a few students where they say this applied.

    I had one young man who was okay with the content, but if he saw multiple choice questions on his math test, he would just circle random answers. Once I made him start writing out work for the multiple choice, he would get them correct. I was amazed that a junior in high school needed to be told to write out work, even if it is multiple choice, but that's a thing.....

    Following instructions is also a challenge for some....
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2018
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  13. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Groupie

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    This is what confuses me when people say we need to provide alternate forms of assessment, etc. I agree that there should be different forms of questions on tests, etc. but I also feel that students need to be able to perform on a test!
     
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  14. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Fanatic

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    It’s the new America we live in. If the test is too hard, you dumb down the test. When people are called on to think more, they think less.

    Take, for example, the basic skills test for teachers in various states. They are ridiculously easy and yet people routinely fail them.

    In fact, I know a professor at UC Berkeley who gave up on teaching at the high school level because she thought it would be a waste of her intellect. And she based her decision on her taking the CBEST and marveling at how stupid the questions were. Now, bare in mind that this was over 30 years ago, but she said she encountered problems like this: “There are five, different-colored elephants lined up in a row. What is the color of the third elephant?”

    And guess what? I believe her because there was a question on my CBEST that had you convert teaspoons to tablespoons and they gave you the conversion factor! At the time, I was like, “Are you serious? How do people not pass this?” The questions required very little thinking and were like 5th-grade level...

    Like the saying goes, “it was the CBEST of times, it was the worst of times.”
     
  15. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Fanatic

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    I agree, but there are ways to correctly reduce multiple choice answers by eliminating the extreme answers (getting rid of the answers that are too high or too low), guessing on consecutive questions (pick all of the same letter because you have a greater probability of getting some of them right), working backwards using the answer choices, not being mislead by selecting an answer choice that was merely mentioned in the reading passage but actually relates to the question stem, etc. There are actually a lot of test-taking strategies that students can learn and I teach my students quite a bit of them.
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2018
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  16. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Fanatic

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    I’m concerned for the students of those future “teachers” if what you say is true. The last things that students need are more ineffective teachers who are C-average students at best.
     
  17. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Fanatic

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    Your post couldn’t be more correct. Concerning your latter point, it is because they don’t know the content and that is why teaching programs should have higher standards for certification.

    To demonstrate, when I interviewed for my current position ALL applicants had to take a diagnostic test for each math class that you could be asked to teach (from Prealgebra though AP Calc AB/BC). In order to pass the first round of interviews, you had to pass with at least 90% accuracy on the majority of the tests. Sure enough, there were “teachers” who had been teaching math for 10+ years who couldn’t even get 50%! It shocked my administrators and they eliminated those applicants without a second thought, and rightfully so I think. I mean, how can they help their student(s) pass if they can’t even pass?!
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2018
  18. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Especially in a time where what qualifies for a C grade used to be a failing grade.
     
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  19. Backroads

    Backroads Fanatic

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    Betwixt teaching careers, I once applied to be a math paraprofessional at an elementary school. Part of the application process was a math test. I consider myself decent with math, and was pleasantly surprised to find the test incredibly in depth and, dare I say, difficult. Maybe there is still hope out there?
     
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  20. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    On top of the previous mentions of the overuse in cases for students sometimes and for teachers in their skills tests (and yes, I acknowledge there are certainly some it's an issue for: I can identify several of those students over my teaching that it affected), I think sometimes educators overuse this in describing test results of their students, too.
     
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  21. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Fanatic

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    This, exactly this!

    I tutor some students from a school just down the road from mine and a 50% gives you a C! A 60% gives you a B and a 70+% gives you an A. This is the grading scale schoolwide.

    It’s outrageous and I’m contemplating confronting the district and school administrators about it because they’re basically raising a generation of failures.
     

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