As we contemplate another year, new goals, new semesters, etc, I thought I would chat a little about the subject of testing. This is an interesting topic because the conversation seems to be split down the middle amongst supporters and detractors. However, what is the true purpose of testing? Is it to exam what a student knows or does not know? Is it to limit the amount of eligible students for entry in an institution? Can testing results be solely what determines a successful instructor and there consequent job security?
The answer to these questions could probably determine the future of high stakes tests; but do we really want to know the answer to these questions? I recently read an article title “Tests With and Without Motivation” (http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/01/02/study-raises-questions-about-common-tools-assess-learning-college), and it seems to suggest that testing is not really for the students’ benefit, as much as it is to satisfy accreditors that learning is happening. Is this why we test, to prove something everyone else, not the students?
The points I am raising are not necessarily for one side or the other, I am simply suggesting that the subject of testing, be looked at in a proactive manner and not in the reactive way it has and is being implemented. Also, take the politics out of it; politics has no place in this discussion. True educators are in the business of helping students, that is what educators are passionate about.
As for the students, they just want to learn in the best way possible; and that is what we are trying to do right?
Dr Flavius A B Akerele III