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Teaching to the Test, No: Using the Test as a Teaching Strategy By J. David James Associate Professor Health Science Prince George’s Community College.

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Presentation on theme: "Teaching to the Test, No: Using the Test as a Teaching Strategy By J. David James Associate Professor Health Science Prince George’s Community College."— Presentation transcript:

1 Teaching to the Test, No: Using the Test as a Teaching Strategy By J. David James Associate Professor Health Science Prince George’s Community College

2 Quotes Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny — E. Haeckel We should make exercises so compelling, and so powerful as exemplars of a domain, that honing one's ability to solve them represents generalizable learning and achievement. — L. Bond Instant gratification is not soon enough - M. Streep

3 Objectives Identify a few immediate simple ideas to add to our current Andragogy Identify ways of modifying our approach both to instruction and assessment using the test as a starting point Identify practical ways of using tests as a teaching/learning strategy Identify technology resources to facilitate testing as a teaching and learning strategy

4 Our Foci vs. Their Focus Students are too often focused not on mastery of the subject but on passing the test. This is evidenced by the age-old student question, “Is this going to be on the test?” Some educators respond by teaching to the test.

5 We Shouldn’t Teach To The Test Giving practice exercises featuring "clone items"—items so similar to the test's actual items that it's tough to tell which is which. The scores provide invalid interpretations about the students' actual mastery of the content. (Popham,2001) Providing classroom instruction that incorporates, as practice activities, the actual items on tests.

6 Instead Use the Test as a Teaching Strategy Lauren Resnick of the University of Pittsburgh noted that rather than bemoan the inclination to teach to the test, we should take advantage of it. (Bond, 2004)

7 Identify a few immediate simple ideas to add to their current pedagogy

8 Are Our Questions the Problem? What if our student’s performance was not based solely on their command of the subject but on their understanding of our questioning/testing? Dr. K Penn State Microeconomics Nursing School

9

10 The Fatal Switch-Teach Like You Test The Fatal Switch- Teaching via knowledge based methods Testing via application and analysis Test Like You Teach FATAL SWITCH If I spend all my time teaching application and analysis where do they get the knowledge?

11 How Can They Get The Knowledge? Lecture Videos The Flipped Classroom You (The Expert Learner) JIT- Internet, Smart Phones Cite your source Textbook Give homework that they know will be preparation for the in-class graded group assessments (Make it the ticket to the show)

12 Instructor Aided Group Tests Does Not replace normal individual exams (They still must take these) To them it’s a group test to you it’s a time to teach Small Groups Preferably 2 No more than 3 per group Real Life Compelling Assessments Upper Level Assessments NO KNOWLEDGE LEVEL QUESTIONS Application Analysis Synthesis Must be graded and count as part of their class grade

13 Take Advantage Viewed in this light, we are no longer teaching to the test but we are using the test as a teaching strategy because the skills and knowledge are themselves relevant and are the very things we wish students to acquire. (Bond, 2004) USE SMALL GROUP TEST ASSESSMENTS We should make exercises so compelling, and so powerful as exemplars of a domain, that honing one's ability to solve them represents generalizable learning and achievement.

14 Designing Real Life Compelling Assessments Where do we find them?

15 Identify technology resources to facilitate testing as a teaching/learning strategy Publisher Test Banks & Test Generators Questions can be modified and tailored Have page references On-Line Test Banks Collaborate with Colleagues Scantron

16 The True False +/ - Question If this is True or False WHY is it True or False? How would I change the question to make it True or False?

17 The True False +/ - Question TRUE or FALSE Cirrhosis of the liver leads to decreased hepatic portal pressure. This statement is True This statement is False because liver cirrhosis leads to increased hepatic portal pressure This statement is False because liver cirrhosis decreases cystic pressure

18 The True False +/ - Question TRUE or FALSE The principal of respondeat superior holds the employer responsible for the actions of their employees A. The statement is True in all circumstances where the employee is conducting business for employer B. The statement is False if the employee commits a negligent act or acts outside their scope of duty C. Both A & B are correct D. Neither A or B is correct

19 Multiple Choice Analysis Questions Engages students in higher-order intellectual activities (Bain, 102) Encourages them to: Compare Apply Evaluate Analyze Synthesize

20 Select All That Apply A series of true false questions put into one question A. Administer Tylenol (acetaminophen) 1 gm B. Stop the blood transfusion C. Flush the line with saline D. Submit the tubing and bag to the Blood Bank E. Establish a saline lock or patent IV F. Obtain first voided urine (within one hour of reaction) A client is receiving a blood transfusion and complains of headache and low back pain. What are the nurse’s actions? (Choose all that apply)

21 Other Group Activities Students working in small groups on specially designed guided inquiry materials. These materials supply students with data or information followed by leading questions designed to guide them toward formulation of their own valid conclusions Case Studies A Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning (POGIL) The instructor is more than a facilitator, observing and periodically addressing individual and classroom-wide needs. Instructor is the Expert Learner (Bain, 18) POGIL

22 The Role of the Instructor Roam the class and Listen to discussions Correct wrong assumptions Give a page number from the text Direct them to an online resource Ask a question Do a mini lecture if the entire class is having the same problem Look over their answer sheet before they hand it in and tell them which answers are wrong “No one is exempt from the rule that learning occurs through recognition of error.” ― Alexander Lowen, Bioenergetics

23 Immediate Feedback “By seeking and blundering we learn.” ― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Design items that can be quickly corrected, graded, and returned Consider designing questions that can be answered on a Scantron sheet With creativity many solutions can be expressed in 5 choices Return the items if possible before the end of class Is it wrong to cater to their desire for immediate gratification? Is immediate feedback a motivator? Are there sound andragogical reasons for immediate feedback?

24 The Follow-up and Close Answer questions “People Learn Most Effectively when they are trying to answer their own questions” (Bain, 101) Clarify Common Misconceptions Time for Insights and Discussions Ask the Big Questions If this is true then WHY, HOW, WHAT, WHERE ? What major conclusions did you draw? What questions remain in your mind? (Bain, 103) Identify resources “We do not learn from experience... we learn from reflecting on experience.” ― John Dewey

25 Identify practical ways of using tests as a teaching/learning strategy

26 Set The Foundation Create a Natural Critical Learning Environment Start with learning objectives Decide when and how much Prepare the syllabus Prepare the student

27 Create a Natural Critical Learning Environment People learn by confronting intriguing, beautiful, or important problems, authentic tasks that challenge them to grapple with ideas, rethink assumptions, and examine their mental models of reality (Bain, 18) Can a group test be used to do this?

28 Start With Learning Objectives Four Fundamental Inquiries What should my students be able to do intellectually, physically, or emotionally as a result of their learning How can I best help and encourage them to develop and use those abilities How can my students and I understand the nature, quality, and progress of their learning How can I evaluate my efforts to foster that learning (Bain, 49) In order to focus instruction on the curricular content that a test represents, that content must be spelled out sufficiently for instructional planning (Popham,2001) -

29 Decide When And How Much Will you start with a lecture? Will you require them to do out of class preparatory work? Will this be used as your main andragogical approach? Will this be used to teach a particular difficult concept or unit?

30 Prepare The Syllabus Build the points from the group tests into their grade Give yourself flexibility to drop or add an assignment as you assess student understanding Allow them to drop their lowest grade Keep the exams We practice and prepare together but we test alone

31 Prepare The Student Skip Downing Introduce to Resources On Campus Online Explains the Benefits and Consequences Explain what will be required of them

32 Identify ways of modifying our approach both to instruction and assessment using the test as a starting point

33 Anticipate The Difficulties Teachers are encouraged to anticipate the difficulties students will have with various concepts and how to structure and sequence instruction to minimize these difficulties.

34 A Lesson Here For Teachers “The tension between the instructional and assessment communities, as well the pejorative connotations that "teaching to the test" entails, will continue unabated so long as testing and assessment are seen as something quite apart from instruction and learning, rather than an integrated reflection of what was intentionally taught. To paraphrase A. G. Rud of Purdue University, what is needed is a deliberate attempt on the part of all parties to link curriculum, instruction, assessment, and standards in a more generative and even transparent way”. (Bond, 2004)

35 Sources Bain, Ken. What the Best College Teachers Do. Harvard University Press, 2004 Bond, Lloyd. "Teaching to the Test". Carnegie Perspectives (via the University of Victoria). Retrieved 27 May 2014. Popham, W. J. (2001). Teaching to the test. Educational Leadership, 58(6), 16-20. http://serc.carleton.edu/sp/library/pogil//index.html


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