Excerpt from Unschooling To University by Judy Arnall
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15 problems when testing students and homeschoolers
Testing is the most common form of assessment in schools. However, due to the unique content and the unique teaching method at home and not in a classroom, this is problematic in school and school education.
1. Learning without schooling is neither divided nor linear – exactly the forms in which tests are to be measured; Exams test the wrong results
The Concordia University (Chang, 2011) study did not measure what the 12 untrained children learned, but what they did not learn that the government thought they should learn. We could say that the test measures different goals.
Students do not follow subjects or a school year. There are too many areas in science and social studies, history, geography, languages and art to test children. Students who choose an area they want to learn about do not look for a test in that area to measure their learning performance. It makes no sense. It would also be unfair to take exams at class level, as they may not have chosen to learn about any of the topics tested in the exam. Learning is constant in all disciplines. Only school classes learn in subject areas, periods and school years.
Mothers worry if their children consume enough vitamins for health. Governments are concerned about whether children are learning. Mothers do not measure vitamin A in their child’s body every week to determine if it has been ingested, and teachers should not have to do tests every month to test learning. Parents know that their child will eat a variety of good foods over the course of a month that will give him the nutrients his body needs. Parents also know that their child is learning. The progression of education often resembles that of a butterfly rather than that of a ball. It is neither straight nor linear. It has plateaus and hills and valleys that depend on the child’s development, age, interests and personality.
Learning is often invisible. Learning also takes place when there is no output or measurable evidence; If children don’t write exams, make a product, or write an essay, there is no expense to prove learning. However, this does not mean that no learning has taken place. For this reason, the recorded parental observation should be seen as a valid and valuable assessment tool, as this is often the only one that parents have outside of the learner’s self-assessment.
2. Assessment changes learning
When reviews come into the picture, the type of game changes. Once the results are sought, the game is judged and is no longer free or spontaneous. When children know they are being tested, they focus on the material they are being tested on rather than enjoying learning for their own sake. You learn to use your time and energy. You don’t waste time learning what isn’t on the test. Nothing is fun to read a good novel faster than knowing that you have to write a book report about it!
Children cannot explore new topics or delve deeper into them, as measurable results usually have to be achieved with significant time constraints. Grades have their place, but should they determine the curriculum or should the curriculum determine the grades? Many teachers complain that “teaching after the test” takes a long time and unnecessarily limits real learning because it inhibits meandering and discourages natural curiosity. I agree.
Option prices also have grades. Why? The purpose of options is to arouse a child’s interest in an area. It’s an easy way to try something new. If a child knew they would not be tagged, they could take more risks while learning and strive to meet new challenges.
Unschooling promotes true learning that is free of markings.
3. Testing takes a lot of time and is stressful
Testing in schools is expensive and time consuming. It takes time from the actual teaching, which is the main function of the schools.
4. Testing becomes content and may not be the best way to learn
How do teachers know they did it? You read children’s faces. If they do not have this feedback, for example when learning online, they give many tasks to provide the required assessment component. My son took a 10th grade physical education online. It consisted of 50 hours of writing and only 75 hours of recorded physical activity! Apparently, the school did not trust the children to do physical activity and they needed a method to evaluate them. So they assigned them 10 tests, three essays, two projects and a mandatory written discussion. The writing component of the online class was far more difficult than in a physical class. That makes no sense. Teachers and parents know that children learn when they are committed and enthusiastic.
5. Tests assess teaching ability at the learner’s expense
Teaching and learning is like throwing and catching a ball. Teachers know when a child’s excitement on their faces catches them. But it is hard for teachers if they throw a ball and a child doesn’t even try to catch it. At school, responsibility for learning must lie with both the teacher ball launcher and the student ball catcher.
In the Abitur it is only the responsibility of the learner.
6. Tests often don’t say where the weak points are
A single number or letter does not tell a story when a teacher judges a student. Many distortions can positively or negatively influence a test result, e.g. B. the misunderstanding of the meaning of a question.
In most institutions or programs, a student cannot review his marked tests to see where he needs to improve to move on to the next level. That is wrong. All test participants should be allowed to see their mistakes and at least get the correct answers to show them where they went wrong. A grade of 80% is great – but it doesn’t tell them how to correct the 20 percent of questions they asked wrong.
However, using self-assessment tests is of great value. If a child wants to start a math program and needs to determine their level, a test is a great tool. The resulting mark is insignificant; It is important to serve as an indicator of the optimal starting level for the student.
7. Tests are often aimed at future students, not current ones
Standardized performance tests allow schools to plan better delivery and better content for next year’s students rather than for current students. As a result, the test results may not correctly assess learning.
8. Tests often measure the ability to run tests rather than measuring learning
When my children started taking tests at the age of 12, they needed instructions on how to mark the blisters and not get lost on the blister sheet. They needed instructions on how to estimate and budget for the time allotted for the test and how to reduce fear of the test. Test questions are often formulated so badly that the learner cannot decipher what is asked. The problem is the test, not the learner’s knowledge.
Untrained children are not used to tests and can do poorly even if they know the content, simply because they are not trained in the test procedure. One of my sons had a bad experience that illustrates this. When he went into an exam, he was not told to reset his calculator before the teacher deleted it, which essentially sabotaged his configurations. His math test answers were wrong because his graphics calculator was in radon mode instead of degree mode. Obviously, the test results didn’t exactly reflect his knowledge.
9. Testing must cover a beginning and an end
Learning ends or does not begin. It does not start in September and ends in June. It goes “off course”, of course. My children learned most during the summer months when they had access to a larger selection of books and videos from the library. During the “school year,” we were busy running outdoors for activities, groups, and play dates, and often we didn’t have much time to read a book in a hammock. If the children had been tested in September, they would have shown a great increase in knowledge since June. For the same reason, tests in June would show less progress. There are also drought periods when children don’t seem to be learning much academically, and that’s fine – after a drought period, there is a tsunami of demonstrable academic learning! Testing cannot possibly capture the ups and downs of meandering learning.
Testing is limited in time. Very few events in real life are timed. The stress of a timed event can affect learners and prevent them from successfully sharing their knowledge, resulting in an artificially low grade.
10. Academic tests only measure learning during a certain period immediately before testing
Testing does not measure knowledge retention a few years after testing – that is, it is not an indicator of real, intrinsic learning. If adults who left school two years after school were given performance exams, they would almost certainly not pass them unless they were actively working on site!
11. Tests teach values
Test questions are very biased in school and give a child the impression that school is “normal” and school attendance is therefore “abnormal”. His learning experience and that of his colleagues at school are not reflected in the questions. My daughter passed a 3rd grade math exam and found at age eight that over 70 percent of the questions included “boy” scenarios. What do you say about math and girls? Because parents rarely see the test given to their children, these biased embedded values are rarely captured.
12. The exam measures only the content of the item
Testing does not measure the basic soft skills that are essential for success in life: initiative, honesty, creativity, problem solving or interpersonal communication skills. Children can be gifted in areas of intelligence such as music, art, dance, theater, sports, exercise and other personal skills that cannot be measured by tests. The strong emphasis on test results in core subjects shows children who excel in art, humanities and sports that their intelligence is inferior.
13. High stakes tests encourage cheating
When my children went to university, their exams were weighted with 50 to 90 percent of the final grade. When I asked why so high, the explanation was that cheating on class assignments was widespread and that it was easier for administrators to control fraud in an exam environment.
14. Grades can damage self-esteem and self-confidence
Grading compares a child to others instead of evaluating their own progress. Grades affect self-esteem, especially in children with special needs and learning difficulties who have many alternative skills, intelligences and skills. As Thomas Armstrong and Howard Gardner note, there are at least eight ways to be intelligent. School tests measure only two: language (English) and logic (math) skills.
15. Learning can be assessed in many ways other than testing
The evaluation of portfolios, projects, photos, physical evidence, observations and self-reflection is valid to prove the learning. However, this form of assessment can make it difficult to compare one student to another – a necessary element in our environment of mass delivery, standardized curriculum and conveyor belt training. Bias is embedded.
One teacher can reward an essay with an A – another can rate it differently. The best assessment is always the learner’s self-assessment.
Do we test for social, emotional and physical health?
The development of a child has four dimensions: social, emotional, physical and cognitive. As a society, we do not regularly or mandatory test a child’s physical, emotional, or social health to ensure that taxpayers receive a reasonable return on funding parenting programs, health services, or even child benefit payments. We leave it up to parents to monitor child health in these three dimensions and to ensure satisfactory progress between the ages of six and 18. The requirement that parents be subjected to a “child check-up” every year in order to continue receiving their child tax benefit would be seen as inappropriate interference in the private sphere of parenting. We have to trust that parents don’t give their children ACES. Why is it so important to us to test a child’s cognitive health every year? Are you learning Do you keep up with your cohorts? And why is it important that they keep up with their cohorts while learning? What is wrong with personalized learning that only allows comparison with a child’s own progress?
As in health care, government regulations and interventions in school education should not exist.
Trust the parents
In 99.9 percent of families teaching at home, parents focus on the well-being of their children and their wellbeing as a top priority. We have to trust that parents know their child best in all four areas of development and give them the ultimate say in their child’s education and cognitive development, just as we entrust them with their child’s emotional, social and physical development.
No grades up to high school or beyond
Testing is a life skill that we all have to learn. We take tests for driving licenses, yoga teaching qualifications, swimming and karate levels and post-secondary admission. But do we have to start when children are six years old? No. At this age, they don’t have to endure the stress that testing causes. You learn test skills if necessary. The first tests that some of my children wrote were the non-mandatory 6th grade state performance tests in math and English. Some of them only wrote a test in some subjects in grades 9, 10 or even 12. They started quickly when they had to. The high school has plenty of time to learn and improve their test skills.
The grades were also unknown to our children up to high school. Since we believed that self-assessment is the best form of assessment, we asked our children from time to time: “What was interesting about it? What did you learn from …? “We didn’t record their answers. We asked questions to direct them in a different direction. Our records were to track the resources that we had offered to the children.
not what they produced with them. Most of the time they didn’t produce anything that looked “school”. How do you write in educational jargon that the children play a puppet show over their bunk beds? When they produced something interesting, we took a lot of photos and videos. These are things that I still appreciate and always appreciate.
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