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View Diary: Education: Why data-driven instruction does not work (98 comments)

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  •  There are limits to what tests can tell us (2+ / 0-)
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    FG, JerryNA

    There are limits to what multiple choice tests can tell us, but a lot people want us to make the results of such tests the only measure of a student's education and the only measure of a teacher's competence.

    It is tempting to do this because it is easier than trying to figure out what students ought to know or do know after spending a school year in a given classroom.

    I would like the test producers to give their tests to randomly selected high school graduates and college graduates so that the results might be compared.

    This year, after spending a great deal of time and effort on the First World War, I was surprised and extremely disappointed at my students' performance on a 50 question multiple choice test that was designed to be similar to the types of questions they would see on the year-end World History standardized test.  I was going over the results with a colleague who remarked, "Why are you so surprised?  How much does anyone know about World War I?"  He had a point, I think, that is often overlooked.

    I gave the same students a follow-up exam that was all short answer, short paragraph type questions.  About half of them did much better, nobody did much worse.  I felt better about it, but I know that no one in power gives a damn about whether my students or any other students actually understand anything about the First World War.  I doubt that any of those in power know much about it themselves.

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