Wednesday, March 30, 2016

We Need to Stop Testing and Start Thinking

I heard something that was music-to-my-ears today. Apparently there was a presentation to senior leadership in my board a few weeks ago that included a prof from UTM and one from UGuelph (both from math departments) that passed on this message (I am paraphrasing of course) that I hope makes its way around the board sooner rather than later:
"We need secondary teachers to stop using tests as a crutch claiming they need to "prepare students for University". Your students are coming to us as great test takers, but without critical thinking and problem solving skills. These skills are vital, and students who have these skills will be able to succeed no matter the assessment environment they are put in."
I have been saying for years now that we are graduating hordes of students who do not know how to think - even the ones getting 90s. This was confirmed by the numerous peers who have become math teachers and admitted that they now realize that they never actually understood the math they did in high school (until they started teaching it). We need to stop testing and to start giving students the opportunities they need to do some true learning and thinking.
To this I add....we need to bring back the Al Geo course! That had to be the course that I did the most thinking for in high school, without a doubt.

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