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Do classroom tests results reflect what your kid knows?

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Replies to: Do classroom tests results reflect what your kid knows?

  • happykidsmomhappykidsmom Posts: 345Registered User Member
    This problem was so bad for DS1 that, in 9th grade, he decided to use AP tests as placement tests. He would take the AP's for classes he hadn't taken yet. If he made a 4 or 5, he didn't take the class. If he made a 3, he took the class the next year. I think he only made two 3s and colleges didn't seem to care that he hadn't taken the corresponding classes. He never took AP Chem, but applied and was accepted as a Chem/Chem Eng major at some Top 15 schools. Sometimes, ya' gotta do what ya' gotta do. ;)
  • mathmommathmom Posts: 23,433Registered User Senior Member
    I should give you the list of weapons where you had to pick one that didn't belong. My recollection was that you were supposed to pick the one you didn't throw, but of course there was one that wasn't made of metal...

    When dh taught histology at med school they would graph every students answer and if the "good" students got the right answers and the "bad" students didn't they knew it was a good question. I think if they determined a question was sufficiently bad they threw it out.
  • QuantMechQuantMech Posts: 5,682Registered User Senior Member
    I recall an IQ-type test I took in 8th grade, where the "pick the one that does not belong" choices were: butterfly, book, door hinge, jar lid.
    I suspect the "correct" answer was "jar lid." However, I think that a really strong argument could be made for "butterfly." I would be further willing to guess that if "jar lid" was indeed the correct answer, then this question had a large gender differential.
  • QuantMechQuantMech Posts: 5,682Registered User Senior Member
    One of QMP's mix-ups occurred on what I believe was a standardized test, in 3rd grade. (Sorry to those who have seen this before). The students were supposed to identify the synonym of "scold." QMP picked "teach" rather than "find fault," on the grounds that if Person A was scolding Person B, then Person A had already--previously--found fault with Person B, and was now trying to teach Person B.

    In 2nd grade, they read a story about a kitten who fell through thin ice, and was rescued wet and shivering. After the kitten was rescued, the kitten was--QMP's choice--"taught."

    You know, the teachers seemed like such pleasant people. It's only in retrospect that I wonder . . .
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Posts: 36,949Registered User Senior Member
    mathmom wrote:
    I should give you the list of weapons where you had to pick one that didn't belong. My recollection was that you were supposed to pick the one you didn't throw, but of course there was one that wasn't made of metal...

    Like this list?

    dart
    throwing knife
    boomerang
    shuriken
    sword
    atomic bomb
  • lookingforwardlookingforward Posts: 12,074Registered User Senior Member
    Gawd, I hated those life or death stories. What do you teach a 2nd grader with the image of a desperate and frightened kitten? The value of good deeds, I guess.

    Jar lid would have stymied me because the type wasn't specified. First thought was that jar lids screw on, not fold open. Except maybe those Mason jars with hinges. But they didn't say....
  • bclintonkbclintonk Posts: 6,487Registered User Senior Member
    cow, deer, moose, snake, giraffe - which doesn't belong?

    Obviously snake. The others are all even-toed ungulates.

    Or, or to simplify things, snake is the only carnivore.

    Then again it could be moose, which is the only subset of another member of the set. A moose is, taxonomically speaking, a type of deer, or Cervidae. Or, by similar logic, it could be deer, which is the only member of this set of terms to include another member (moose) as a subset.

    Moose is also the only one of these not found in Africa.

    Or it could be cow, which is the only gendered noun in the group. A cow is an adult female of various species of large mammals, including bovines, whales, walrus, and elephants, among others. An adult female moose is a cow, lending further support to this answer as, unlike the other terms, "cow" is not a taxonomic classification at all but rather a term used to refer to adult females of various species.

    On the other hand, "cow" is also used colloquially to refer to domesticated bovines of either gender and any age. That also makes "cow" unique among this group of terms insofar as it is, when used in referring to animals, much more ambiguous than the others. When referring to animals, "moose" always refers to a particular species, Alces alces; '"giraffe" also refers to a particular species, Giraffa camelopardis; "deer" refers to the taxonomic family Cervidae; "snake" refers to members of the suborder Serpentes. "Cow," however, refers either to a member of a domesticated breed of the species Bos primiginius taurus; or to adult females of that species; or to adult females of a larger but somewhat random set of large mammals.

    If we take it into the cultural realm, however, "deer" may be the outlier. The other terms are all used colloquially as pejoratives to describe by analogy certain traits culturally deemed to be undesirable in humans. Thus "cow" is used to describe a physically unattractive and often large female. "Moose" is used to describe a large and clumsy person, usually but not always male. "Giraffe" is used to describe an awkwardly tall person. "Snake" is used to describe a devious, duplicitous, and untrustworthy person. "Deer," on the other hand, appears to have no such negative connotations, at least not as a freestanding term. There is, of course, the phrase "deer in the headlights," used to refer to a person caught unawares and paralyzed by fear, but you need to add "in the headlights" to carry that connotation. On the flip side, one who "runs like a deer" is being praised for uncommon grace, speed, and athleticism. The term "deer" in itself carries neither negative nor positive connotations, and is rarely used to refer to humans.

    Gosh, I'm confused. But maybe I'm overthinking it.
  • HotCanaryHotCanary Posts: 228Registered User Junior Member
    In college, I took a test where the professor told me," Your answer is correct, but it wasn't the one I was thinking of." And that was it.

    I used to be a great test taker, and was kind of snotty about the idea that you could be smart and yet not be a great test taker. I scoffed at the idea of "trick questions". Many years and two kids later, I recant. Both of my kids have different thought processes, but I also think that test questions have grown increasingly sloppy. Giraffe? B%&@h Please.
  • sylvan8798sylvan8798 Posts: 4,435Registered User Senior Member
    QuantMech wrote:
    "pick the one that does not belong" choices were: butterfly, book, door hinge, jar lid.
    I suspect the "correct" answer was "jar lid." However, I think that a really strong argument could be made for "butterfly."
    I could make an argument for door hinge in the grounds that it is the one that you would fix to something that wouldn't be moving about to other locations. Book, of course as the one whose purpose is to be read. This is a fun game.

    As to the OP, maybe when it comes to physics (what I teach) the tests are more likely to reflect what the kid knows (or doesn't!).
  • TheGFGTheGFG Posts: 4,660Registered User Senior Member
    Well, it was the physics teacher who said he was not concerned. He said she is "not in dire straits" and seems to understand the material. I replied that from our perspective, a "D" IS dire.

    That said, this stuff is more typically a problem with non quantitative subjects.

    In my opinion, a test should be written such that an expert in the subject would get an easy A. I recall a health teacher who used her own nicknames for anatomical parts. So, there'd be a matching exercise with phrases like "vacuum cleaner" on one side and you had to match it to correct body part on the other. Anyone want to venture a guess on what part that is? We also had a physics teacher who liked to call newtons, figs. Some kids actually got really confused on a standardized test because of that.
  • gouf78gouf78 Posts: 2,994Registered User Senior Member
    GFG--if your kid knows stuff and the teacher is unconcerned and the grade is a "D" then it's definitely time for partial credit on exams and a bit of work on the teacher's part to give a real grade and not just multiple choice "mark it wrong" malarkey.

    All of this points to the much harder to grade "explain your answer" test as the best exam.
  • gouf78gouf78 Posts: 2,994Registered User Senior Member
    And butterfly is the obvious answer. Never seen a live jar lid flit around.
    And atomic bomb is the only one blowing a ton of people off the planet.
    These are so easy!
  • mathmommathmom Posts: 23,433Registered User Senior Member
    Must be book, the only one you can read.
  • cobratcobrat Posts: 7,419Registered User Senior Member
    In my opinion, a test should be written such that an expert in the subject would get an easy A.

    Depends on the purpose of the test and the philosophy of the teacher/test giver.

    For some, the type of test proposed above wouldn't do enough to separate the "real experts" with the ability to be "quick studies" and the adaptive critical thinking skills to use that knowledge to apply to novel/tricky situations from the rest.

    In some educational/situational contexts, this is necessary. In others, it can make for an excessively cutthroat competitive environment.
  • TheGFGTheGFG Posts: 4,660Registered User Senior Member
    What I mean, cobrat, is that a teacher should use standard terms and standard explanations--not his personal, idiosyncratic terms. It shouldn't be that if you miss class one day, but study the material from the textbook, and learn all about the parts of the foot, let's say, that you should get a question wrong because you didn't know the teacher is calling the big toe an oompa-loompa. This stuff really happens.

    So tell me, what part of the anatomy is a vacuum cleaner, and would a PhD in anatomy know that answer?
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