As I sit here proctoring yet another state assessment, I can't help but truly study these students and their struggles. Why do we expose students to exams that have no real-world value? At what other point in our students' lives will they have NO access to technology? Many colleges have even moved away from traditional testing. Why must they memorize dates or computations? Not that the art of memorization should be ignored.
Imagine this assessment instead.
Students have one week to write a 5-7 page MLA research paper. Plagiarism results in a 0. The deadline is non-negotiable (midnight on Date Due).
Using your knowledge of social studies and global crises, discuss at least one historic global crises and that country's recovery (or not). Then research a similar contemporary global crises (economic crises in Greece, Syrian war, Mexican drug war in USA, etc), steps others have taken to address the issue and at least one personal idea or solution. How do you think that country or issue can be fixed?
Using the Internet is encouraged. Collaboration is encouraged. An accompanying self-created short documentary will result in an increased grade.
Plagiarism of any photographic or textual information will result in a 0.
Now THAT's an assessment that makes sense. And so many other possibilities that would incorporate math and science skills.
- In every real-life circumstance people have access to technological devices, information and collaboration.
- Deadlines are real. And they're usually at midnight.
- Going above and beyond (the video) is usually met with accolade. Hence the higher grade.
- Plagiarism on the Internet or in academia has dramatic negative results.
Of course during the school year, rather than prepare for a senseless exam, we would prepare for THIS assessment. We would have collaborated, researched and presented information multiple times and know how to do so properly, citing contributors. Presentation tools & tips. And we would have researched stuff that was interesting to us. Electric cars, blood diamonds, cloning, whatever. And presented it with enthusiasm because we were passionate about it. And our classmates would have become interested. And asked questions.
When will our education system wake up to the 21st Century? There is a better way!