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How do we make education about learning instead of testing? SQ: How can we know if someone has learned something without testing?

As a student, I see first hand problems in the education system. One problem that I still haven't come up with a fitting solution is the one stated. It seems that teachers are teaching for the students to do well on standarized tests (particularly AP tests) rather than teaching so the students will learn what they should/need to learn. Now besides arguing that standardized tests cover all that students should know, how do we fix this problem? This discussion leads to the subquestion that is also shown above. How will we grade someone or know that someone is learning something if not tested on it? Is there any alternatives that you know of? Or is testing/grading someone not important for the sake of learning (which is what education's main purpose should be)?

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  • Jul 29 2013: I agree with your question and those of the previous postings. I believe that the standardized tests are not effective, because they are mostly based on memorization, AND for the sake of easy grading the "questions" are mostly multiple choice or filling in the blanks with one or two words, and not quite related to good understanding. Let me suggest a different set up in the testing procedure:
    The testing should be done in a classroom with proctors. The questions should be mostly essays containing the course materials which the students just learned and include the students' comment in how they are relevant to the practical usage of the (at least one of such) topic/content. The degrees of difficulties in the test material would be based on the students' grade levels of them. Of course, the test result must be graded individually by different graders. Nowadays we could easily invite graders proficient in different fields or topics on the internet to participate in, Each volunteer will receive several randomly assigned test answers with only a coded ID of each student on the "test paper".
    The grade for each student will be the average grade of 3-5 graders.
    Would this be a better representation of what the students have learned?
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    Jul 28 2013: SQA: When knowledge is put to practical use is when we may know someone has truly learned and understood what is taught. Written test could be falsified by rote memory. I think of the game show Jeopardy every time I hear the word rote.
  • Jul 25 2013: Personally, I think testing should never be in the form of simple questions and answers.

    Testing should always be in the form of applying the knowledge learned. Memorizing answers to questions is useless if the student is not able to apply that knowledge to do something useful.

    The guild system requires the learner to actually produce something before advancing to the next level. With some creative work, a similar criteria could be used at all levels of education. It would make cheating nearly impossible.
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    Jul 25 2013: As a student you should be interested in having a current picture of what you understand and are able to apply. The teacher needs this also, so that you know which areas demand further work from you and the teacher which areas demand further work from her.

    Keeping current on what we understand, where we need further work, and the extent of how we can apply what we know is, in fact, part of learning over the lifetime- not just in school. Education is about learning and so is reflecting on and figuring out how well you understand material and where you could benefit from further work or retooling.

    Means of assessing understanding, as Edulover writes, are varied. Most competent teachers use several, including observing students doing work in class, engaging in discussion as a whole class, in small groups or one-on-one, assessing students' projects, and so forth.

    In a setting like an AP History class, seeing how a student working alone can tackle and presented a Document-Based-Question is a reasonable means of assessing whether a student has acquired that skill. There is rationale for having this assessment done in a supervised setting, or the assessment may not be the work of that student and therefore not a meaningful measure of whether a student has learned to derive conclusions from documents.

    Many instructors also do such assessments on DBQs not done under timed conditions to get a slightly different read on the students ability to apply skills in that area.
  • Jul 25 2013: Conversation and a projection can help us to know a person's abilities all...testing and grading someone just one of methods to test one part of asepcts of learning.But that's big prejudice to test a person's ability with testing and grading scores.It is humanbeing's defect to foster young people in grading orientation.Especially in China,it is the whole society to have no choice's choice to select more outstanding young people to get privilege to enroll university or jobs.Lots of young people's innovation and potentials been buried by scoreing examination here.the creation and innovation extending space is so limited.