Interesting article - do you send tests home?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by MsMar, Jul 22, 2013.

  1. MsMar

    MsMar Fanatic

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    I thought this article was interesting.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/local...0e9d1e-ee9f-11e2-bed3-b9b6fe264871_story.html

    I send home tests when I'm allowed to, meaning everything other than our Story Town Theme Tests and math benchmark tests. We have to keep these tests for a year after the child leaves our class so that's why we don't send them home.

    In my mind, the only reason teachers don't send tests home is because they don't want to have to make new tests each year. And again, in the case of our Story Town tests, they're made by the company so this is also probably why our district doesn't want them sent home as the same exact tests are given each year.

    The comment about the "unfair advantage" blew me away. The first comment under the article sums up my thoughts on it pretty well.
     
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  3. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I can't imagine not returning the tests that my students write. The only exception is the provincial tests that the students write in grades 3 and 6; teachers don't have access to these either.
     
  4. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    It is very common in MS and HS where I live to not return tests to students. While they may go over the answers in class, most tests are multiple-choice on scantron sheets so the question portion is collected leaving the students with a sheet with bubbles and a grade. Even math tests are kept in most cases in HS.

    Our HS has started a policy of keeping all written essays. The students get to see the grades, but then they are collected and kept throughout their HS years. The thinking is that the teachers can show the student growth over the years and see where the students stand when coming into their class.
     
  5. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    I get this complaint sometimes. I don't send home tests, but I encourage students to come during tutoring times and look over past tests to see what they missed.

    My reason is that I don't want to make the test over each semester and year. The artilce implies that that makes me lazy. Maybe if I had simply vocabulary terms to match with definitions that would be so. But our school encourages higher order thinking which requires higher order test questions.

    I made up a new pre/post test this past weekend. It took at least 12 hours for me to write. It is ridiculous to expect me to do that for each semester. Regular tests, which have only fifteen fewer questions, would take me probably four/five hours. I find graphs (or make up my own) on the internet for the students to analyze so we can combine the chapter's information with graphing skills. I find images for students to label that aren't out of the textbook so they can show me they understand rather than memorize. I resent the statement that not wanting to re-invent the wheel means I don't want to work hard.
     
  6. Shanoo

    Shanoo Habitué

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    I do and I don't send tests home.

    For my Grade 9 students, I send them home.

    For my Grade 7 and 8 students, all of their assessments go in a folder which stays at school because I don't want them to lose it as we use them as a study tool. At any time, if a parent wants to see a child's folder all he or she has to do is ask and I'll send it home. I needs to come back, however. Also, if a child would like to take his or her folder home to study for a test, he or she is free to do so. Again, it needs to come back. At the end of the year, the students can take them if they wish.

    The teacher next door to me keeps the tests he gives for CYA purposes. We teach in a program that has a high level of parental involvement which, unfortunately, sometimes translates to teacher blaming.
     
  7. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    I always returns tests home to be viewed and signed, even the benchmarks that I have to keep (I have no had a problem recollecting them back). If it is a test that will eventually stay home, I still send the test in their hw folder, and then send it again permanently in their Friday folder. Most of the parents go over the problems their child got wrong with their child. I want to make sure my parents are up to date with their child´s progress. I understand teachers´ concerns about not wanting to make different test versions, but also as a parent I want to see where my DD is having problems.
     
  8. 2ndTimeAround

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    I would only get about 50% of the tests back. All it takes is one test out there to invalidate the rest. I had to stop sharing my tests with one teacher because she would use them as take home tests which got photographed and sent to friends who were a chapter behind.
     
  9. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    I send tests home for families to see and I don't ask for them back. Our middle school sends home for parent signature and send back to school. The parents of some kids I tutor photocopy the tests so I can review with their children.
     
  10. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    I've always sent tests home, but even in 5th, I never had them figure out a way to cheat. I would hold a test until everyone has taken it- which means if someone was absent for a long period of time, they may get their tests back late.
     
  11. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    In HS we only got the Scantron back in Science. We would go over the test together first. I can't remember any other class's tests.
     
  12. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    I send them home. About 30% of the time, I give my students the question(s) ahead of time. They can prepare an outline and use it. The other 70% of the time they know exactly what will be asked because we've going over it the whole unit. They know I'll ask them to define the main characters, identify the theme, etc... My tests are no secret.
     
  13. platypusok

    platypusok Companion

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    I give everything back (except for some writing assignments that are a graduation requirement and they go in the students' file).

    Now, do those things get back home? Mostly, no. I have a recycling bin and a trash can in my room and they are full on the days that I pass back papers.

    Aside from that my 9 weeks tests and other big unit tests change constantly. I'm still tweaking what works best and what schedule works best and then my tests have to be tweaked too.
     
  14. Ted

    Ted Habitué

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    I send tests home. I think I'd be in a witch hunt if I didn't. ;)
     
  15. Listlady

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    I send home quizzes, but not tests. I may want to use the test again (even modified), and students will share them with their friends. I do, however, pass them back, review them, etc., and keep them for a while (in case a parent has a problem with something). I do let students keep any essay answers, though, if they'd like. A lot of them are proud of what they write and want to keep it.
     
  16. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I give the kids back their answer sheets and they correct the tests themselves, for more credit, but it's just a scantron. The thing is I only make around 35 copies of the test because it's a lot of paper and use it again each period.

    So only 35 kids would be able to take home tests. Which doesn't make sense really.
     
  17. 2ndTimeAround

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    Duh - I do the same thing. Why wasn't this my main argument? lol
     
  18. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Well actually there have been a few times in which I wanted them to be able to correct their tests at home, so what I did was take the entire 10-12 page test and shrink down each page so that ALL of the questions would fit on a single sheet of paper.

    It had to be read with a microscope, but they had the questions at some point. xD
     
  19. Mr.history

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    Nope, I do not plan to send tests home. Students will answer on a scantron and on paper with their essays. I don't think my school would like it very much if I made a 120 copies of a test every time. I also resent the sentiment that teachers are lazy if they don't want to have to remake their tests every year. I'm not sure how many different questions you have on the french revolution but I don't necessarily want to have to remake the same test 30 times(if I manage to teach that long. :p ). It might get a little difficult to come up with new questions after a while. I will certainly tweak tests year to year but I definitely don't plan on starting from scratch.

    Edit:
    Just read the article. I don't think I would have a problem sitting down with a parent and walking them question by question through my tests if they wanted to see the question. When I construct the tests I make sure to cite each question from a lesson, assignment, ect. I could show that the material was covered.

    If there truly are schools who wont let the parents see the exam(not take it home) but just look at it. Then I think thats probably a bad choice.
     
  20. BumbleB

    BumbleB Habitué

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    "Looking at last year’s tests is considered cheating by today’s schools. In my day, it was called review."

    I don't really agree with this. I think that "back in the day", it was more prevalent to reuse tests. Nowadays, I think teachers are much more aware of student needs and differentiation, so reusing tests isn't as common.

    I pass back all tests and quizzes. My kids have trouble remembering where they put their homework, I'm not really worried that they'll keep a test for a whole calendar year and then give it to a friend to cheat.

    Plus, I usually alter my assessments anyways. Take out questions that didn't work, add on to make some questions more complex, etc.
     
  21. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Almost all my tests are online. I don't send them home because I can't.
     
  22. Mr.history

    Mr.history Cohort

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    I like the idea of using online tests. What do you use to make them? Do you just take the students to the computer lab on test day?
     
  23. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Last year I used Edmodo for most of my tests. My school has recently purchased a license for Datawise, which allows for either online test-taking or individualized bubble sheets (pre-printed with student names and test info). I prefer Edmodo, but my school is really pushing Datawise, so I'll probably have to make the switch to that.

    I have a classroom set of old Macbooks. I got them when a different program upgraded to new ones.
     
  24. Ted

    Ted Habitué

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    Hmm, I had no idea Edmodo allowed for test creation. I was going to go with Schoology over Edmodo for that reason.

    Caesar, does Edmodo allow for all types of questions (mult. choice, short answer, matching, etc.) or just multiple choice?
     
  25. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    All of the above. Beware, though: the matching is very, very awkward. I avoid it whenever possible.
     
  26. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    I send home classroom tests - I want parents to go over the test with their child. My tests are all short/extended answer, which is generally new for my students, and the first couple of tests are critical for them to review and see where they went wrong (for the first test, at least, the biggest issue is always reading the questions carefully and answering ALL parts of the question).

    I don't send home semester exams. I make a class set of tests and individual answer sheets.
     
  27. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    I can't send anything home. :( We have to put it all in student portfolios and I can't trust the students to bring it home and return them. I have a hard enough time getting report cards back. I think it's ridiculous and it's hindering the involvement parents have in the school. Obviously I share grades whenever possible with parents, usually through a newsletter where I can just fill in the grades for each student on their newsletter. But it's hard to keep up.
     
  28. Ted

    Ted Habitué

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    Ah okay...thanks!
     
  29. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    How do you guys feel about sending tests home and then just switching the order of the questions next year?

    If a student is going to try to cheat by looking at last years test, at least it could be argued that they would have had to learn to material in order to get the answers correct because they would be out of order, and essay questions are hard to copy.
     
  30. 2ndTimeAround

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    That would be fine if it was just memorization that I was looking for. But I look for analytical skills. If I ask a student to predict what a population will look like in five years from a specific graph, the student could simply ask a buddy ahead of time and memorize the answer. I want to know that he can USE a graph, not remember an answer.
     
  31. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Good point. Didn't think about graphs and math problems.
     
  32. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    To me, math problems are actually easier. Because I expect to see work showing the process. Often my "math" problems are slightly modified from problems they have done already anyhow. There are just so many ways you can calculate the pH of a substance, for instance.

    On math-type tests I don't offer up multiple choice questions and they are easy enough to change for a different test version. It is harder to come up with non-math test questions that require analytical skills.
     
  33. Sm2teach

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    I send tests home to be signed and returned. Usually it is after we have gone over it together in class, so the corrections are already on it. We end up remaking most our tests every year as we are constantly changing our curriculum up to meet the needs of the students.
     
  34. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    I like that you go over the tests afterwards with the students. Would you say you do that instead of a new lesson that day? How long does it take you to do that?
     
  35. 2ndTimeAround

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    I like the idea of going over some test questions in class (I wouldn't do all of them due to time constraints) but I keep getting bogged down in the logistics. I often have students miss test day but show up the next. Sometimes I'll have those students take the test then, in class while we move onto the next subject. Otherwise they'll never come into make it up. With the students that can come after school or during lunch, I can't just send them out of class until they make it up. I have A LOT of students miss tests due to sports. Frankly, I can't keep up with who has taken the test and who hasn't. And with the cheaters that I have, I can totally see a student sitting in and listening even though he hasn't taken the test.

    I'd say that on average I have about 10% of my students out during tests. Unfortunately, it isn't always the same students so it is easy to forget who was out and who wasn't.
     
  36. Sm2teach

    Sm2teach Companion

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    It depends on the test. Sometimes I will tally the results and go over the most missed problems. Usually we devote one day to go over the test and may send the rest to be corrected at home for homework. Sometimes I will pull a small group and go over the test with them while the students who did really well may be given a computer task to do on their own. We don't give weekly tests. Sometimes we don't even give 6wks tests. We fit them in when we feel it is important, but try to spiral our skills throughout the year in everything we do.
     
  37. MsMar

    MsMar Fanatic

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    In math I'll usually go over the most missed problems and take maybe 10-15 min to go over those questions. I find it less useful to go over the whole test (or to ask the students which ones to go over) because if only a couple students got the question wrong there's a lot of kids not really paying attention when I go over them. So, I'll usually pick the problems to go over and then let the students know they can see me individually if they have a question about something they had wrong.
     
  38. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    The teacher I worked closely with during math last year conferenced briefly with each student when she returned their math tests. For some students, it was less than 30 seconds, for others, it could have been a couple of minutes. She did this while the class was engaged in independent work. The students, and parents, found this feedback invaluable--I'm going to adopt this practice this coming year.
     
  39. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    When I taught grade 6 I didn't send tests home. Instead I sent home a test outline indicating how many points the student scored in each section. Tests were kept at school in student portfolios and parents we told they could come in and view tests any time. Our report card grades are outcome based and we did not use percentages - they were scored on a 3 point scale and I needed to be able to see the tests to see if the student understood the concepts. Simply having a percentage in my grade book wouldn't have given me that information.
     
  40. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    I did this, too.
     

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