Simoneil Sarbh: Using tests to actually help students

“Our rage is tied up in fear, but on the other side of fear is freedom,” said Barbara Madeloni. On Tuesday we really explored what teaching is supposed to be, could be, and is. We saw how it could be all about standards, or it could just be a group of people sitting together and talking about interesting stuff (sort of like our Thursday discussions). Sitting around and talking about stuff without being forced to only works when people care about the subject matter. When we look at Freire’s take on education we see that the focus is the student and learning. However Freire’s ideas are based on children caring, and often taking initiative, which is not always the case. Kids want to skip their homework, get out of all possible tests, and chat in the back. Some do homework when it’s not mandatory but that just isn’t most kids’ priorities. I really enjoy most of my readings, but often wont do them for a couple weeks till the week (night) before an exam. If we did away with exams, would I do go back and do those readings like I promised myself? Maybe.

If we take away all evaluation and really focus on learning as the sole purpose of education, I’m sure many would succeed in leaps and bounds, but many others will fall behind and go unnoticed. I’m not a fan of standardized tests, but some evaluation can be helpful. Tests can shed light on concepts children are having trouble with which can then get special interest. To do away with all evaluation methods completely isn’t the solution, but to start using them to help each individual student as opposed to evaluate the teacher should be the new step. As opposed to bombarding kids with standardized tests I believe a couple of evaluation techniques through the year would be much more helpful. An evaluation at the beginning of the year can show different areas that the child is struggling with. Through the year each child can get special instruction in these areas, and then an evaluation at the end of the year could show if the special instruction was helpful. To do away with evaluations completely doesn’t make sense as some measurement is necessary, but should be used to help the child, as that is the main goal.

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