How often should I test my students?Why?

<b> Forum for the discussion of assessment and testing of ESL/EFL students </b>

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How often should I test my students?Why?

Post by irenevp » Fri Jun 06, 2003 1:06 pm

I am an English student and I have to do a task. I would like to know how often should I test my students (Primary level, English as a second language) and why. Thank you.

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Post by EH » Sat Jun 07, 2003 5:14 pm

I suspect people may disagree with me on this topic, but my opinion is that every single activity you do with your students should be an opportunity for accuracy percentage data collection--in other words, a 'test.' This is especially true if you have a small group, so that each person can have multiple chances to prove success each session. For example, say you are teaching a lesson on the simple present tense. After you explain how the students are to practice (making sentences, chatting, filling in the blanks, etc.), take notes on how many times they used the simple present tense correctly, and how many times they used it incorrectly. Then convert it into a percentage correct. There you have your 'grade' for that activity. If you do similar exercises a few times during the term, you will have a handful of grades for that student on that specific subject. It's your choice whether to pick the highest grade, the most recent grade (my recommendation), or to average all the grades together in order to come up with a final grade.

If you have a larger class, then this may not be as practical. In that case, it's up to you how often you test, but the key is that it be a reliable, consistent policy--testing is a stressful event, and it's not a good idea to make students think you are unfair/subjective in the way you go about it. For example, your policy could be to test every week, or test after every unit is finished, or have three exams per term, with quick quizzes in between them. As long as it's consistent, then any policy is more or less as good as another.

Anyway, that's my opinion.

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Post by blanca » Fri Jun 20, 2003 2:02 am

By law you have to do it annually, but you can also do it before TAAS or TAKS to suuport your exemptions. Informally you can assess them while they are working to plan your instruction according to their needs. :lol

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Post by noonlite » Fri Aug 08, 2003 7:28 pm

Are you all grading simply to have some number to report to some authority or to actually be aware of the progress of your students?

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Post by Ann » Tue Nov 11, 2003 2:32 pm

I must be a terrible teacher because I formally assess my students every week. By that I mean, paper-pencil tests. I assess them through other ways throughout the week. I think tests provide me with accurate information whether my students are "getting it" or not.
Sometimes, students are shy about asking questions in class. If 50% of my class fails a test, that means something is wrong with my instruction and I need to go over that.

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Post by dduck » Tue Nov 11, 2003 6:43 pm

I think educators complain about testing sometimes because the whole curriculum ends up being geared to passing the tests and real education is tossed out the metaphorical window. Often during growing up a child's social skills need to be allowed space to develop. Unfortunately, in this ever-demanding world, this gets forgotten. I've heard of cases of young children having nervous breakdowns. More important than gathering knowledge and passing tests is a child's ability to make decisions. Now, how do we teach that?

Testing isn't necessarily an evil thing. If done to monitor progress (i.e. real education), it gives useful feedback to the teacher, which can be used to retune his/her teaching practice in class. So, no I don't think you're a terrible teacher :)


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