There. I’ve said it. I’ve always thought it, but now I’ve said it. File this under posts-I-hope-my-supervisor-doesn’t-see. And because I think that assessments are stupid, I don’t give tests very often. Now it’s time to post my grades. Oops. It doesn’t meant that I don’t give tests, but I try to give other forms of assessments. I LOVE Google Communities. They’re like academic Facebook. If a student posts, that’s an assessment to me.
However, there is no category in our gradebook for “Google Community Posts and Comments.” There is no category for the fact that the notification on my phone went off around midnight last night because a student who lives alone and has to work 2 jobs to support himself read and commented on a post because he was interested enough, and was on his phone, at midnight. His comment was awesome. The English needed some work, but it was one of those sentences where I learned from him. That sentence should get an A.
Another reason I think assessments are stupid is because when grading them, it often turns out that my questions were more of the problem then their answers. How do you grade something when the questions aren’t phrased well? Or can be interpreted more than one way? “Teacher gets a C- for poorly written questions.”
It’s hard for ELLs (I hate that abbreviation. I prefer ESL kids) to memorize definitions. But why should they? Isn’t it just important that they know what they mean? We are currently studying literary techniques and elements in my Intermediate ESL English class. On a test, I asked for the definition of symbolism. Then, in song lyrics, they had to explain the symbolism of a few different lines of the song. To me lyrics=poetry and I find it more interesting to throw a song in occasionally. So why should the student who can’t memorize the definition of symbolism get a lower grade than one who can, although his explanation of lines of the song perhaps shows more insight and perspective than a student who can rote memorize? Answer? Assessments are stupid.