Assessments Instead of Exams

The end of a semester indicates that grades are due, we get a break, late submissions are made, and EXAM WEEK!!! Exam week is terrifying for both students and teachers. But, for teachers at least, it is exciting to see what your students learned over the semester. I believe that it is a valuable part of the education process. However, it seems to have broken this year. How on earth can you give an exam with any kind of integrity? It is way too easy to cheat! I agree however…

Let’s take a step back for a moment and consider the purpose of exams, they are meant to demonstrate what students have learned, and not learned, during an instructional period. Right? So, what if we found another way to accomplish that same purpose?

Rebranding time! I propose that exam week should now be known as assessment week, at least this year. Take a breath. Don’t worry about giving exams but give assessments instead. This means that you could:

  • Give projects that students can work on a head of time that demonstrates objectives from the semester (this is what I am doing for my Bible classes).
  • Give them open book tests that have short answers and short essays that you created and then make it timed. This should be designed in a way that allows them to get a good grade if they know the information. The timed aspect makes it so they won’t be able to look everything up for the first time during the test. Note: Most Learning Management Systems have timers built in to their assessment tools (I am doing this for my history classes).
  • Essays, give them write an essay during the allotted test time or on their own time and then submit it.
  • Ask the students to record a video doing or explaining something. (Our Spanish teacher, Adriana Folscher, is having the students create a video where they have to explain a game they created in Spanish. She had them cook a recipe in Spanish last semester.)
  • Give an oral exam to the students over video.

I know that there are other great ways to do assessments that I have not yet thought of. Don’t worry about having exams. Instead repackage it a little. Is there away for you to still have a Final Assessments?

God bless

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