Saturday, November 14, 2009

Scantron: love/hate

Normally the tests I give have a smattering of matching, some "use the vocabulary word in a sentence that demonstrates you know its meaning", and an abundance of short answer and mini-essay questions. They take HOURS of brutal boredom to score. Such a test is a snapshot into a kid's brain--I can see what they comprehend and where they make connections and where their thinking is fuzzy or their understanding is lacking.

With a Scantron™ test, students bubble in responses. The tests take minutes to grade, and I can see which questions were missed most. But I can't see how they interpreted a question to arrive at a "wrong" answer that actually does best align with their interpretation.

Worse yet, I can't tell with a Scantron™ test if my questions are well-or poorly-designed. See, I try to design even multiple choice tests expecting kids to think about their responses. I do not believe much in rote memorization, and even my Scantron™ tests reflect that. They are not generally straightforward; they require making inferences.

Well, the kids BOMBED their first Lola Scantron™.And now the tension in my head: did I do a poor job teaching this? Or did they blow off studying because I told them it would be a multiple choice test, or did they rush through it without deeper thought?

Can't tell. It's hard to go forward without a diagnosis...

No comments:

Post a Comment