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A focus on humanizing education

Newsflash

New Delhi: In a communication received from the University Grants Commission (UGC), the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and the Distance Education Council (DEC). Readmore...
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Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget.
Doomed am I.
Another funeral this day.
Here endeth my college career.
Where is my wandering mind today?
Into the valley of death.
I wish I had wings of an angel;
Away from this Ex. I would fly.
Here I sit all scared and blue;
Here comes the exam…
I don’t know what to do.
The funeral march.
Oh Brain, fail me not!
Here’s where I am annihilated.

…Anonymous

The predominant attitude of students toward the tests they take in school is one of hatred and trauma. Some even experience extreme horror as the time of a scheduled test draws close. Nevertheless tests are not disagreeable in themselves. Watch the series of episodes of quiz programs on the various Television channels and the millions of rupees that are pumped in on parlor games in many cases resemble school tests precisely in depth and nature. Millions of readers eagerly wait upon week by week or month by month to face the competitive objective tests on current events published in General knowledge periodicals globally and take the tests willingly and at regular intervals without bothering the ready answers that are available in the closing pages. In school, tests have been used overwhelmingly for the purpose of determining a mark for a pupil. Always pass-or-fail situation exists; and the test is branded as the sinister vehicle. If this continues in schools, can we hope for any significant change in attitude toward them?

Though the burden of tests is eternally a hot topic of discussion and debate universally, one can not rule out the numerous uses for test results other than to determine marks, promotions, recognitions, recommendations, etc

Let us list out a few:
  • If test results are scrutinized by the pupil and he/she welcomes and accepts them as the record against which he/she will compete in the future, then they have certainly become a significant motivation for future learning.
  • Dedicated and committed academic staff consider test results not only as an indicator of how well pupils have grown academically but also of how well they themselves have performed in imparting the syllabus. Besides, the Board of Governors of schools can assess the teaching competencies of instructional staff through carefully controlled testing programs.
  • Test results should be analyzed with research mind to determine what chapter/topic has been poorly grasped and precisely in what areas remedial teaching is necessary. At times while commencing the course a through pre-test is administered so that there is no need to repeat the content which is already clear and understood. The outcome of the pre-tests also holds key in adapting the content to the specific individuals in the group.
  • Tests intended to predict likely scholastic success are termed as prognostic tests. They range from reading or number readiness tests at Kindergarten level to tests intended to reveal the likelihood of success in under-graduate and graduate studies.
  • Standardized tests with their norms are widely used in making comparisons among groups. When a particular group desires to compare its present achievement in a field with its own previous achievement, an equivalent form of the test previously used will be required, since the same test should not be given over and over again.
  • In schools where grouping is in vogue, test results are used widely in determining into which group pupils will be placed.
  • There are various kinds of information useful in counseling which can be derived from tests and which should have no bearing at all to the pupil’s scholastic standing in the school.

If tests were administered at regular frequency in a variety of roles, the suspense and anxiety linked with their use as measuring tools would be greatly reduced.