"Bad test taker"

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

  1. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    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

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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

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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

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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 Aficionado

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    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

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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....
     
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  13. Ms.Holyoke

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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 Aficionado

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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 Aficionado

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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 Aficionado

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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 Aficionado

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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 Aficionado

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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 Aficionado

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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.
     
  22. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Your experience gives me hope. Increased rigor is always a good thing.
     
  23. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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  24. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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  25. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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  26. futuremathsprof

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    Pretty much sums it up. Like parents who say their child tried so they should get an A. Pfft, lol!
    That’s right, that’s how the real world works. The bridge collapsed while motorists were driving on it and people died, but I tried so it’s okay. I misappropriated the funds because I suck at math and the company went out of business, but I tried so it’s okay. I forgot that the patron had a peanut allergy and I used peanut oil in the recipe, which caused them to go into anaphylactic shock, but it’s okay because I tried. :rolleyes:

    Everyone gets a participation award these days and I’m sick of it. It should be if you do poorly, then you get an F and no honorary anything because you failed.

    I like the Texas model where if prospective teacher candidates fail their certification test(s) 5 times they are permanently barred from retaking it/them unless there is good cause:

    https://tcta.org/node/14155-new_law_limits_certification_exam_attempts
     
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  27. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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  28. otterpop

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    :eek:That is outrageous. I've never heard of such a policy! As a student, I always strived for (and usually got) A's. But if I'd known that was the policy, teenager me would probably have just aimed for a bit above 70%. What a motivational detractor.
     
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  29. futuremathsprof

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    I couldn’t agree with you more. It has my colleagues and I up in arms and I’m deeply troubled by this policy. It’s just another way that’s schools positively skew data to detract from their high failure rates.
     
  30. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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  31. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Get a load of what happened with an acquaintance of mine - A new high school opened up and she had just lost her job working in an office. She had minored in Spanish and someone mentioned the school needed a Spanish teacher. She got the job as lateral entry (in NC non-certified teachers can earn their certification as they are teaching). She took her exam (the Praxis maybe?) five times and failed it each time. She had been teaching for seven years (lateral entry program was supposed to be five years) and could not pass the test. Supposedly you cannot move up salary steps if you're not certified, however. District finally told her pass it or get out. She did.

    And.... drum roll please...She was awarded back pay for all of the steps that she hadn't been paid.
     
  32. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    I could see this for the first calculus college course I took towards my math major, but not for most classes. This professor was ridiculously wise and his tests were notoriously difficult, to the point that he fully expected that most of us would not be able to fully solve all of them, but I think instead, he truly wanted to see what we were capable of and our ability to at least start problem solving some difficult situations. If you looked at a raw percentage of points earned, 80-90% truly was meaning you were ridiculously amazing...and even getting 50-60% of the points was showing some decent strength.

    Again though, that was an entirely different situation that is by no means true for most teachers/professors :p
     
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  33. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Then you end up with the public knowing that many of the teachers just aren't great at their jobs or knowledgeable in the subject matter which makes the public not want to support giving more money to teachers.
     
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  34. futuremathsprof

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    Not passing by a few points once or twice is very different than people who take the same test 10+ times and still can’t pass. Concerning the latter, those teacher/administrative candidates obviously don’t know their subject matter/craft like they should.

    This is why, I believe, that some people have lost respect for the teaching profession and don’t consider us as professionals because we have unlimited chances to pass in certain instances.
     
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  35. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    You just won the Internet, my friend.
     
  36. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Lovely, just lovely...
     
  37. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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  38. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Certainly. But in a high school where the vast majority of students take remedial coursework, it shouldn’t be necessary to give students this very generous grading scale. In a college class like the one you described, then the difficulty of the class should be taken into account. I, myself, took a very difficult class in college called Advanced Physical Chemistry (just for fun) and the averages were in the 10-30% range because the exams were that hard. I routinely got around 75-85%, but only because I worked my butt off for that class (around 30 hours of studying per week). In my case, more than a simple majority of the class struggled throughout because the professor had a similar reputation and had been teaching since the 1950’s — he was very old.
     
  39. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    I agree for the most part. And it’s funny that you mentioned the Google Classroom teaching style because the scenario you exactly describe is the one implemented at the school down the road from mine, lol!
     
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  40. 3Sons

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    Well, they're not actually wrong about being bad test takers...
     
  41. futuremathsprof

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    Yes, but there is a reason they are bad test-takers, lol.
     

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