Friday, January 24, 2014

New Aptitude Test ?

The new future for test takers. No more pencil and paper tests.
     The definition of aptitude is the capability; ability; innate or acquired capacity for something; or talent. The key words are 'innate or acquired' and 'talent.' What if you have a talent for taking tests? Can tests measure true aptitude? 

     What happens when teachers 'teach to the test?' Then let's make a better test that measures students' application of their conceptual knowledge: This is what the PERFORMANCE TASK is attempting to do. 
     A test that shows student comprehension at a deeper level is a benchmark for the new SBAC (Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium) assessments. Some complain that this test will be too hard, but so few are achieving ADVANCED or PROFICIENT status in the current high-stake state exams. Here is an example of the new kind of aptitude test:

“My grandma pulled the ball out, unwrapped it, and held it out for us to see. The ball was 
scarred almost beyond recognition. It had dog bite marks, dirt scuffs, and fraying seams. Right in the middle was a big signature in black ink that I had somehow overlooked. It was smudged now and faded, but it still clearly said ‘Babe Ruth.’ I began to shake inside.”

Instructions to students:
Click on two phrases from the paragraph that help you understand the meaning of scarred.

Along with this sample item there are others that include watching a video, synthesizing information from at least two sources, writing a new ending, and clicking on sentences that support the main idea. This just seems more fun and valuable than a paper and pencil test with four choices to bubble. Do you agree? See for yourself by clicking the link below. 

On the flip side, have you ever wondered what a world without assessments be like? No red ink, no stressed out principals, students, and teachers. Imagine how colleges would accept student candidates or how lawyers or doctors would show proficiency, UC Santa Cruz tried it and failed in my opinion. 

Because of tests, the very rich cannot buy their way into professions. Remember how many times John Kennedy Jr. had to take the BAR Exam. Could tests actually be good? 

Yes, I believe so, but we have to continue the quest to build a better test.

Do you believe America has a true meritocratic society? 

Charlie Chaffin

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