IMHO the time has come for a total reevaluation of tests/exam systems in schools.The archaic idea that standardised tests and exams measure anything but a persons ability to remember some details is not only harmful to real learning, but also causes extreme conditions of stress, anxiety and misguided ideas about learning/knowledge!
My belief is that students will acquire proficiency under various circumstances and at different rates. Consequently, students may wish to challenge the completion of a course through a process and protocol that does not require mandatory attendance in the course. Thus, exams/tests would not be a satisfactory measurement or indicator of the student's knowledge of that particular area of study.
Some "alternative assessment" methods are mentioned below and your comments are gladly invited;
1. Students do a Round Robin show and tell about their projects. The students go around and share "I likes" and "I wonders" for constructive feedback from their peers! (A'la Facebook likes)
2. Dramatise the answer! Places, cameras, ACTION! I always feel that if a child could touch, feel and see the knowledge in a "real word" scenario, it becomes a reality!
3. Jeopardy style team games. (scored by students)
4. Small group intervention (Peer teaching and Q&A's)
5. Peer editing of responses to writing prompts (students tell each other what they think about opinions and answers)
In summary, we should consider alternative "measurements" and the below might serve as examples of those adapted assessments;
1. Change Weighting Scale
When calculating a final grade for report cards, teachers use student assignments, tests, quizzes, and exams collected over the semester. Each type of assessment holds a certain “weight” in the overall grade. Exam results might be worth 50% of the entire grade, while daily assignments are worth 20%. For students with instructional accommodations and modifications, teachers can adjust the importance or weight of an assessment activity.
2. Use Informal Observation
Observing students throughout the school day can give important insight into their learning needs and progress. Collecting data through notes, checklists, sticky notes, and audio notes can help teachers keep track of student strengths and needs. Moreover, informal observations alert teachers to issues and information that one can’t provide on a written test.
3. Allow for Self-Assessment
Give students an opportunity to assess their own learning and reflect on the progress they are making. They can identify their own gaps in skills or knowledge, revise their work, and set realistic goals. This process also helps students stay motivated and interested in their own learning.
4. Provide Multiple Test Formats
Tests do not need to be restricted to pencil and paper formats. Students with written output issues can be given oral-response tests. Teachers can use multiple choice, long answer, short answer, diagrams, charts, fill-in-the-blank, and other graphic organisers to have students answer questions about material.
There are literally hundreds of ways that teachers can assess students over the course of a school year or during a course. Giving students numerous ways to demonstrate their learning can give teachers a clearer picture of student progress than with written tests or a standardised and strict testing regime.
Please share your thoughts in support or any critique against my suggestions.