But really - I'm writing in honor of my students' semester tests. HOW EXCITING, right?! Not as much. Don't get me wrong, it's a nice idea: teach all semester - test to see what they learned - check tests - no feedback (usually) - move on. Heck they probably enjoy testing. And I am SURE they love the multiple choice questions we gave them (they'll never know it was because we wanted to check 150 tests in 10 minutes).
That was my attempt at sarcasm, let me know how it went.
I just don't understand this innate NEED educators have for semester tests. I don't have it. In fact, I'm "subtly" trying to abolish these tests by dropping hints like, "Hey, maybe we could do away with semester tests." :)
My teaching style just doesn't align with these types of assessments. I like to teach, then "dipstick" along the way to see how they are comprehending, adjust, move on (or back up, according to the needs of the students), repeat. Don't get me wrong, I do test. Just not usually in the traditional sense of the word. I test through projects, application, verbal comprehension, individual discussion, and in some cases on paper - well, not PAPER - we have a 1:1 computer program at Van Meter...more about that later.
Tomorrow my 8th graders are creating a glog to upload to an educational wiki - Greetings from the World. They will be posting the glogs under the Van Meter link. The students are able to be as creative and advanced as their minds allow, while developing a virtual poster about Iowa, and at the same time utilizing the information covered from first semester (like poems and figurative writing).
Were they excited? More than if I handed them a four page multiple choice test and said, "good luck." I've heard educators say a lot of things, but my recent favorite is that it's not our job to excite students - that baffles me. I'd say finding a student's passion and getting them excited is a good portion of my job description. Without that, I have 108 students learning material for a test and then forgetting it the next day - and be honest, we KNOW that's possible. If they learned when I taught it (which I'd know from various assessments along the way), then semester tests are silly.