Think or Pass Tests

Thursday, January 24, 2013 in Knowledge Posts

Generations of students are learning skills to pass tests, mainly multiple choice exams, and loosing the ability to think in the process.  The effort to easily quantify results has led educators to sacrifice deep thinking to get results on tests.  Exercises that teach deep thinking on an issue or problem also take time to think, plan and process.  This thinking and making connections time takes away from memorizing facts to pass the test.  Increasingly educators are under pressure to get test results regardless of the long-term consequences.  The multi-choice test has many more problems than just the obvious. New Reasons to Dislike Multi-Choice Testing

Because these tests are easy to score they also make it easy to cheat.  Multi-choice tests encourage a cheating culture and have spawned an industry of electronic cheating techniques and websites. It is much more difficult to cheat, if you are required to write or explain your answer.   Multi-choice tests encourage short-term memory.  Since the answers to questions often have no meaning other than passing the test, the brain quickly discards info which is not useful and moves on to the next survival information.  Multi-choice tests promote the idea that there is a right answer.  There is no right answer to anything in life.  There are simply relative choices to be made and consequences.

It is always easier to blame poor behavior and never look at the system that created it.  Imagine the difference if a mult-choice test asked you to describe under what circumstances would “A” be true and under what circumstances would “B” be true.  Or what would need to happen for “A” and “B” to be true.