[sill: Re: [Tutor] help ;-)]

alan.gauld@bt.com alan.gauld@bt.com
Fri, 19 Oct 2001 12:44:05 +0100

> I agree with most of your post. 

Me too, but less than you maybe :-)

> ... tests are a big mistake. It
> does encourage the students to try to "get by" 
> with as little as possible. 

I'm not sure I agree that tets per se are bad.
What I don't like is the current trend to 
multi-choice tests which can be passed in theory 
by pure luck! Especially when out of 5 choices 
there will usually be at least 1 that's obviously 
dumb, another that's dumb with even basic 
understanding - which leaves a 30% chance of 
getting it right. Not much of a test.

Good tests, which really do test understanding 
mimic the real world which is full of tests:
"Here's a deadline, if you don't meet it you're 
fired and if you do meet it and it doesn't work 
then you're still fired."

That survival ethic has to be taught to kids somehow 
and tests are a relatively gentle way of doing it.
After all the important part of any education 
system is not the imparting of knowledge but the 
training in new behavioural patterns - the habits 
of effective study, the ability to crystalize and 
communicate ideas, the efficient and focused achievement 
of goals etc.

Just my 2 cents,

alan g.

PS Shouldn't this discussion be on the edu-sig 
mailing list rather than tutor? :-)