[lbo-talk] Good riddance

Wojtek S wsoko52 at gmail.com
Tue Apr 12 05:21:02 PDT 2011

Miles: "So I decided to just eliminate the exams and quizzes. Every week, students are given case studies, and they must apply the course concepts to the cases. "

[WS:} I take my hat off to you. As they say, the proof of the pudding is in the eating.

Most educational testing is pretty useless in assessing the learning process - although my wife, who is a special ed teacher would counter that there are some good diagnostics tests that can effectively identify specific disabilities and remediation for them. But these are a special case, so to speak :)

The chief reason why tests are used is political. Tests are cheap and easy to deploy disciplinary measures that reinforce the authority of gatekeepers and keep their underlings in line. Their main and only purpose is to legitimate denying access to the resources that the gatekeepers control. Beyond that, their usefulness is close to nil.

This is why the US, which can be thought of as a penal colony with a smiley face painted all over it, has so many of them. As Stephen Jay Gould convincingly argued in _The Mismeasure of Man_ the testing business was a major venue of bestowing the aura of scientific respectability on racism and xenophobia.


On Fri, Apr 8, 2011 at 11:54 PM, Miles Jackson <cqmv at pdx.edu> wrote:
> On 04/08/2011 11:38 AM, Carrol Cox wrote:
>> Why not just abolish tests. It would be easier to force schols to do that
>> than to force them to engage in some complex rigamarole with tests.
>> Carrol
> I've been teaching an online intro Psych course this year, and it required
> me to reevaluate my assessment methods.  Typically, I give my students
> closed book in class exams; however, there are many practical problems with
> doing this in online classes (e.g., how can I make sure students are taking
> a closed book exam when they take a test online?).  So I decided to just
> eliminate the exams and quizzes.  Every week, students are given case
> studies, and they must apply the course concepts to the cases.  For
> instance, students are given an example of a particular psychological
> problem such as generalized anxiety disorder, and they explain how the
> psychoanalytic, cognitive, behaviorist, and biomedical perspectives could be
> applied to treat the disorder.  They may consult any relevant sources to
> provide cogent answers.  I've discovered that this approach allows me to
> determine which students truly understand the different psychological
> perspectives, and most students appreciate the focus on critical application
> rather than rote memorization.  I wouldn't have said this a few years ago,
> but I'm with Carrol now: abolish tests.  We don't need them to meaningfully
> assess learning.
> Miles
> ___________________________________
> http://mailman.lbo-talk.org/mailman/listinfo/lbo-talk

More information about the lbo-talk mailing list