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Week 4: Chapters 8 - 9, Question #1 How can you use Boaler’s ideas about testing, grades, and feedback to adjust the way...

How can you use Boaler’s ideas about testing, grades, and feedback to adjust the way that you communicate to learners about the standardized tests required for most adult education programs?


Duane Dorion's picture

What I can see myself doing a lot better job of is providing better feedback to my students.  I do provide feedback, but I see that I have a lot more room for improvement in this area.  I can see myself spending more time with each student to give better feedback.  This way the students will excel quicker in my classes.  I can see that feedback will help my students a lot more than just testing and not giving a lot of feedback.  

I guess I see a problem with not testing in a way.  Our students need to take a standardized test for the Hiset in math.  If they continue their education they will have to take an Accuplacer test to become accepted to a college in Maine.  From there, they will be required to take tests often in all of their college classes.  So if I took testing out of the equation in adult education, I think I would be hurting them in their future endeavors.  I feel that if colleges, followed this example, then we could help our students with this new way of not testing.  As it is right now, I really do not think we would be doing our students justice, if we took testing out of our curriculum because higher education is based upon testing.

Amy Vickers's picture


I agree that as adult educators our job is to guide learners to be prepared for next steps and in many cases, tests are part of those next steps!  There are always ways to improve the experience for learners, though.  I once worked with a colleague who taught me that we need to be giving feedback about skills, not scores.  In that program, after TABE tests, we would (using a correlation chart) be able to show students how they, for example, did not miss any multiplication questions, but missed half of the fraction questions, which makes sense because we are working on fractions right now.  You can then ask them where they would like to be for the next test.

Also, I have had so much success with asking students to show solutions on the board and explain them to the class, taking questions from their peers.  Of course you could not do this with a standardized test, but after looking at student solutions from a set of test-type questions from a book, you could ask specific students to share their solutions with the group.  This way the learning does not end with the test.