WTF is this?

Everyone has had that moment when they get the test put in front of them, turn to their neighbor and give them that,  “Wtf is this” look. Story of my life for a few of my college and high school tests. I am a fairly good studier, and I work my butt off to get the grades that I do have. But what I have noticed, is that sometimes the assignments that teachers give students are sometimes to advanced for the grade level that they are given.

Oh how this conversation brings me back to my horrible english honors class my freshman year of high school.  i literally stalked google for about an hour trying to find our old website with her ridiculous expectations but I unfortunately coudn’t find it. Surprisingly, I can’t even find information about her anywhere which doesn’t surprise me considering she only taught one year at my high school.

She was literally crazy, and definitely expected way too much from us. I am a hard working student, especially in high school and I like being pushed, but what she expected us to do was insane. I remember our tests were out of control. We would have an hour to write 2 five paragraph essays and answer 20 multiple choice questions with absolutely no way to prepare for the questions in advance. I remember sitting in her class a couple times and almost crying because I was so worried about not finishing, or I wouldn’t finish. We would all scramble and scribble just to get something down to turn in.  At that point, I feel like students are no longer showing understanding and analyzation, but rather they are trying to simply write something down to get as much credit as possible. She was always really big on timing us. Vocabulary tests, we would have two minutes to spell the word and write its definition and then it was on to the next word. It gave us all anxiety and it was so stressful to take her exams in anything. I understand that some thing need to be timed, but at the same time, be realistic.

It is not fair to asses students on an entire semesters worth of work, in just 50 minutes depending on format. I think that for exams, quality is better than quantity. As teachers, we need to understand that repetition is extremely important and cramming everything into one test is not the way to properly asses students. Checking in with them through weekly quizes, daily warm–ups and homework assigments will help you as a teacher understand the things that you need to work on and repeat in class. There is nothing wrong with taking time in your next class to take a different approach on something that students clearly and obviously didn’t understand. Being willing to make that change is something that I find very important….and also something that my ninth grade english honors teacher was not willing to do.


2 thoughts on “WTF is this?

  1. First off, totally agree. Just having kids vomit back up information to you is not a good way to have them remember it. However, in the society and school system we live in, test taking is an important skill not only for them but for you as well. It’s awful and stupid, but it’s true.

    So how do we teach test taking skills as well as trying to have students actually retain the information? Holy shnikes teachers have a lot to do. What would you suggest?

    -Anna B.

  2. heathercatherine23 says:

    Linda- your english teacher sounds like a nightmare. I cannot imagine the stress and anxiety I would have had in her class. I am a very slow test taker and there’s no way I could have ever completed one of those tests on time or met her ridiculous expectations. I think that is such a terrible way to run one’s class; students should be able to have fun with learning, and not feel under pressure to prove everything they have learned within 50 minutes.
    I do believe that we as teachers need to challenge and push our students, but not in this way. There needs to be some kind of balance, not one extreme or the other. And I definitely agree with you on quality over quantity. I would much rather have my students take their time to work on one thoughtful, well written essay rather than scribble down whatever they can as fast as they can in order to receive credit.
    And like you said, I also think that its a great idea to use homework, quizzes, assignments, etc. to see what your students are struggling with and what needs to be repeated again in lecture.
    Great post, it’s always fun to get to read about other peoples’ crazy teachers and their experiences.

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