How tests teach and motivate

In the aftermath of End of Year tests, it is perhaps worth reflecting on why and how we test our students. Here is a blog post to spark the discussion…

...to the real.

Lindsay comes to maths.  She sits in the front corner of the room.  The teacher speaks.  She stares out the window.  The teacher passes her a sheet of work to complete.  She doodles mindlessly on its top-right corner.  The bell goes.  Lindsay leaves maths.

Sumayar comes to maths.  She sits near the centre of the room.  The teacher speaks.  She listens attentively.  The teacher passes her a sheet of work to complete.  She gets to work immediately.  The bell goes.  Sumayar leaves maths.

Both these girls have two things in common: they do not distress, disrupt or disturb, and, they have no sense of long-term progress.  Sumayar is motivated by her immediate in-class success.  Lindsay needs to work much harder to ‘get it.’  But Lindsay doesn’t have to get it; it doesn’t matter.  Lindsay turns up, causes no bother, leaves, and has no sense of just how far behind she’s…

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