“Hey! How was your summer?”

“Really great, thanks! How was yours?”

“Aw, mine was awesome. I went to the beach heaps and swam and played cricket in my backyard with all my friends. What did you get up to?”

“We went to Taupo to see family and stuff. It was so good! I wish I was still on holiday. I hate being back at school. I mean, it’s great seeing my friends and my new teacher and being in a new classroom – the first week back was so much fun…”

“Yeah us too. We did lots of fun stuff like pictures and draw labels and played games and got to know each other but this week and next week it’s all going to be testing, testing, testing…”

“I know, right! My teacher is making us work in complete silence while he does a maths interview with everyone – and it takes ages – and then next week he’s going to get us to do PAT tests, a mental maths test and a writing test and probably some other stuff too.”

“School’s so boring when it’s all tests.”

“How come we have to do so many? Like, surely the teachers can just teach us and can work out what we know and what we need more practice at.”

“I guess the teachers are doing tests at the start of the year and then again at the end of the year to see how much we’ve learnt and then they can tell our parents.”

“I suppose. I get all that, but do they really have to do so many?”

“Yeah, it seems like they test us on everything.”

“And I’m not really good at tests either. I’m fine in class if I can talk to my mates and discuss answers and ideas and then check with my teacher, but in tests I get all nervous and even the simplest things I get wrong.”

“I did that once in a test. I even wrote my own name incorrectly! It was so embarrassing…!”

“And once, a friend of mine was really unwell. She’d been up the night before after eating something dodgy. Her mum made her come to school so she wouldn’t miss the test. And not surprisingly, she did really badly.”

“Once, my teacher made us do a test in the afternoon. We all got really low grades just because it was hot and we’d been running around all lunchtime.”

“I get that teachers need to find stuff out about us. But there’s got to be a better way than just test, test, test…”

“Yeah, I agree. I reckon we should get our teachers to think about it. What are you doing tomorrow at school?”

“Not much. More tests, probably…”

“Me too…”

Article written by Ben Egerton

This is an opinion-based article designed to provoke debate, discussion and further inquiry
amongst your students:

Critical Thinking Challenges:

  1. Why do teachers do testing?
  1. Are exams and tests the best way to find out information about what students know or don’t know?
  1. Now that we have access to the internet so easily and can look things up, we don’t really have to remember lots of facts and information. Testing and learning is more about skills and understanding. How can you check that someone can do that?
  1. If you were having a conversation like the one in the article, what would you say?

Practical Tasks:

  1. Make a list of all the different types of tests or exams that you have to do at school (look at once- or twice-a-year tests to what you might have to do every week in your class). Does the list surprise you? Is it fair? What are the reasons for all of them?
  1. Different people work best in different ways. Some enjoy tests, some prefer conversation, some prefer working quickly, some would rather spend longer on a piece of work. What, for you, would be the ideal way to show your teacher what you understand about something?


Have Your Say:

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