Why do an in-class test?
Just as James Elliot said, “School is where children go when their parents go to work, testing is also a kind of unavoidable evil for many students.” Especially in some third world countries like Nigeria, the essence of the tests is very misinterpreted by students and teachers.
Accordingly, this article will flow systematically from an attempt to fix what a test is not, to establish what a test is, thereby discussing the purpose of a test and suggesting effective ways to test language.
To begin with, it should be mentioned that a test should not be a simple exercise repeated with the aim of evaluating students at the end of a term or a semester. Worse still, a test is even an opportunity for some teachers and lecturers to show students how smart they are, how strict they are, and how adept they can be at asking tough test questions.
On the contrary, a test should perform important functions for both the teacher and the students. Essentially, a test should show students how to improve and improve their academic performance, and it should also inform teachers how to fine-tune their lessons to address students’ weak points.
Many teachers or lecturers are unaware that student failure is teacher/lecturer failure. A professional and passionate teacher should never be proud to know that his class is often missed by his students.
A common anomaly, too, is how what is considered continuous assessment is carried out in the middle of a term with a large number of grades assigned to it. As a continuous exercise, testing can be structured and unstructured activities ranging from questions to be answered formally or, sometimes, informally, games, planned or spontaneous group work, etc.
Such commitments should be registered in the psyche of students as activities aimed at improving them and not as routines performed to determine who fails or passes, who gets a promotion or stays in a class, or who is brilliant or boring. This brings me to the discussion of the purpose of learning.
To establish the purpose of testing in academic situations, it should be remembered that testing is for students, not teachers. The tests are mainly aimed at measuring the progress of learning and determining the relevance of the teaching materials.
Parents, too, must be part of the academic and intellectual progress of their children. For many parents, after paying school fees, the next thing they expect is two reports. The first report indicates whether a child has succeeded or not, and the second is the position the child has occupied among others. It’s not uncommon to hear parents say, “Does the person who came first have two heads? Yours is just for eating and playing.
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Many parents don’t bother to assess whether their children have become better people over the past semester or quarter and past. Many do not bother to check whether learning has taken place or not. This is why many children see school as homework and good grades as gifts for their parents. It is therefore important to specify that the first objective of a test is to measure progress in teaching and learning.
After a test, students should find a reason to ruminate on how they learned, and the teacher should be able to assess themselves on how well they performed the teaching task. The tests are also for evaluation purposes. It allows the teacher to assess the learning period to determine what students find difficult and how these areas of difficulty can be improved for better learning.
Students should seek the opportunity for testing to better prepare for new academic sessions by determining which areas of their studies need greater improvement. To achieve the purpose of the tests, teachers/lecturers must ensure that the atmosphere of competition does not prevail in the classrooms. Although encouraging words and motivation should be given to those who perform and participate in class activities, average students should not look like second-class citizens.
Students should be encouraged and valued by individual, not collective, standards or expectations. Teachers should avoid negative labels, and students should be encouraged to see each other as collaborators, not competitors.
Researchers have proposed that a good test must have certain qualities which are validity, reliability, practicality and objectivity. In fact, the tests should always be related to the subjects taught in class. It is also important that the test instructions are not difficult to understand.
Finally, language tests should adopt a communicative approach. Bello, Akinwole and Adegbite (2017) described this in their teacher’s manual as a communicative language testing approach. This approach prioritizes the ability of students to demonstrate a working knowledge of a language rather than focusing on formal linguistic knowledge of the language.
A communicative language test should assess students’ ability to communicate clearly in natural language situations in a creative and confident manner. This is necessary because often, even with formal knowledge of the language, many students are unable to use the language confidently, especially in formal situations. This highlights the importance of teaching and testing language in a communicative way.
In conclusion, the tests serve as evaluations and not judgments. Teachers will perform better if they can strike a careful balance between conducting formal and informal testing, and if they get students to understand the essence of being tested beyond checking for success or failure. course failure.