Tuesday, May 29, 2018

After Standardized Tests by: Ryan Beaver

Last week I took my final standardized tests of the year, as did many of my friends and classmates. Now, we are curious as to what is going to happen in our classes because most of the time our teachers taught to the tests. We see two different possibilities in our classes. 1) The teacher will be done with teaching and the class will be easy, or 2) the class will increase in difficulty due to finals and the need for more grades to meet their grade requirements. Both of these options are less than perfect. The best way to go about this is mix of the two.

                Teachers and students are both getting ready for the year to end and want to have it easy until summer. However, school is still in session. Learning should continue until the end of the year. It is important to not stop teaching after the standardized tests because there is always more to learn. The work does not have to be as intense or painstaking as it was before. Fun assignments utilizing the subject would work great, especially if they tie in the interest of the students. For example, a student interested in psychology could team up with other students that are interested in this field and create a board game. This seems like an easy assignment, but it can be made deeper. Have the students write a short analysis of the game and why certain people are more likely to choose some choices differently than others. An open assignment like this would be a great way for the students to use their passions and the material to create something great.

                The teachers have deadlines to meet at the end of the year in terms of grades. They need a certain number of grades for either the semester or quarter. However, the students just went through lots of stress with studying for, practicing for, and taking the standardized tests. The best way to solve this problem is to budget out the assessments over the course of the semester or quarter but it might be too late for that. If this is the case, the way to do this is by small fun assessments. For example, have the students read an article about whatever they are interested and write a short paper on how their passion will affect people in the coming years. This is a fairly fun activity that will allow for grades in both the reading and writing sections.

                The middle ground here is easy to reach. The class should still learn but should not have a ton of grades in the span of a few weeks. Fun activities that have to do with the student’s interests should be used. If many grades are needed, try having compound assignments that assess two or three things at once. It is important to remember that this part of the year can be used to enhance the learning of the students without the looming pressure of standardized tests. The teachers should use this time to help the students explore what they are interested in while tying in the material to gather grades if necessary. Keep the students engaged and work with them to establish a good foundation for the future, whether it is just for next year or their career.

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