The Exam Question — My Thoughts

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The article, ‘The Exam Question’ was published in the Observer section of the January 9, 2016 Ottawa Citizen. My thoughts in response to the article are based on my personal response both as a student and as an educator. I believe that we are all involved in the education of our children – whether as parent or relative or coach or teacher. I offer my thoughts regarding the issue of final summative written assessments as the best method to assess student knowledge and to prepare our children for the demands of the 21st century for others to consider.  Decide for yourself and advocate for what you believe. …

An article titled ‘The Exam Question’ was published in the Ottawa Citizen on January 9, 2016. It was timely as the end of the first semester approached.  Many memories and thoughts came up for me as I read the article.  This piece is my response to it.

When I was in high school, I wrote 7 to 8 exams twice a year. In grades 9 and 10, the exams were 2 hours long and in grades 11 to 13, 3 hours long. My sisters had to write the provincial departmental exams at the end of grade 13.  They wrote several 3 hour exams which were set by the Ministry of Education in Toronto and which were shipped to Toronto where teachers marked them using a prescribed marking scheme.  I did not have to write the provincial departmental exams which had been done away with two years before I completed grade 13.

When I was in high school, I also had to write standardized tests in grades 12 and 13. In grade 12, it was SATO – the Scholastic Aptitude Test of Ontario.  In grade 13, I wrote OSAT – the Ontario Scholastic Aptitude Test, OECAT – the Ontario English Comprehension Aptitude Test, and OMAT – the Ontario Mathematics Aptitude Test.  The results of these tests were an important part of my applications to universities.

When I completed my pre-service training to become a teacher, I took several courses on assessment and evaluation. The emphasis was on statistics and reliability and validity.  There was much time spent on crafting multiple choice and true/false questions.  There was little discussion of how to craft or mark other kinds of exam questions, especially essay style questions.  Over my 33 year career as a classroom teacher, I created and marked exams in Music, English, Learning Strategies, and Peer Tutoring.  As well, I had experience in several capacities scoring the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test.

Based upon my experience of exams as a student and as an educator, I have several thoughts regarding the issue of summative written assessment that I offer for others to consider.

To read more of this post, go to: https://authenticvibrations.wordpress.com/2016/02/10/the-exam-question-my-thoughts

 

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