Another Indication That It’s Time …

… to ban the concept of formal sit down exams. 

This past weekend, was my son’s wedding.  It was a beautiful venue for the event.

Look at all those steps!

Those that know me know that, when I wear a long sleeved shirt, I never do up the buttons.  Instead, I roll up the cuffs a couple of times.  I know that it’s just a habit.  It may date back to writing on a chalkboard.  Who knows?  As I’m getting dressed, I rolled up the cuffs and my green Fitbit was revealed on my left arm.  My fashion consultant noted that I had to remove it because it didn’t match the colour of the shirt I was wearing.  After some “discussion”, we compromised that I would leave the cuffs down.  I was really curious as to how many steps one goes through at a wedding. 

I had to smile when I read this article this morning.  “Australian schools dis-koala-fy Apple Watch from exam halls“.  You had to see this coming.  Typically, smartphones and laptop computers are banned from exam halls already.  Why?  It’s equally as obvious.  You could just fire up your favourite search engine to get the answers to questions.

I think we all know what’s wrong with this picture.

If your examination is constructed in such a manner that the answers are that easily retrieved, you need to rethink your examination.

I’m thinking of how disadvantaged the students are.  The well organized student divides her time according to the value of the question.  Why waste half an hour on a 5 mark question?  The health conscious student monitors his heart rate to make sure that the stress of the exam is taking its toll.  Now we take away the tool to do this? 

There are so many people concerned about how to change school.  This is a perfect example.  So many of the suggestions are just tweaks.  The concept of an exam is one whose time has come and gone.  Everyone gets that there needs to be an opportunity for a major summative assessment to ensure that learning is measured before granting a credit.  But, an assessment that needs to be changed every time some new piece of technology comes along and threatens the validity of your assessment?  What’s wrong?  The technology or the assessment?

If a piece of technology is used, or even required for the regular coursework, why is it all of a sudden the enemy during your final assessment?  The only reason I would be prepared to accept would be one of equity between those who can/choose to afford it versus those that don’t. 

It’s not a new concept.  Take a visit to a technology department within your school where serious skills like welding, for example, are successfully assessed.  They get it.  They’ve gotten it for years.

Isn’t it time that everyone gets it?

2 thoughts on “Another Indication That It’s Time …

  1. Pingback: OTR Links 06/26/2015 | doug — off the record

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