Teachers should review tests with students

September 14, 2010 — by Jordan Waite and Michelle Shu

“All men make mistakes, but only wise men learn from their mistakes,” declared Winston Churchill. In other words, analyzing one’s mistakes is essential to progress.

And in the same way a student’s ability to look at previous tests is extremely important to academic progress. Unfortunately, with the test-returning policies of some teachers, students are not having the chance to learn from their mistakes.

According to principal Jeff Anderson, teachers are highly encouraged to allow students to see the tests that they have taken and to go over previous tests with the whole class. Though this advice is practical in theory, it has not been taken to heart by all teachers. Only a small minority of teachers don’t review their tests in class, but nonetheless these policies for allowing students to view their tests should be made into an enforced rule instead of mere “guidelines.”

Another method of allowing students to see their old tests is to give it back to them permanently, but according to Anderson, this policy can lead to cheating issues. For reasons of integrity, teachers opt to go over the test as a class instead of permanently returning the tests to the students.

With recent cheating incidents, many teachers are being more cautious about their test policies. Also, tests are difficult and time consuming to rewrite, so teachers re-use tests from previous years. If a test is compromised from cheating issues, it is extremely hard to make new tests, and in some cases there is a limited amount of possible questions for a certain topic. This issue is more of a disagreement of method, not a deliberate deprivation of education.

It is too often that students at SHS forget that they attend school to learn, not to just get A’s on tests. By refusing to return tests, teachers are indirectly enforcing the notion that because the test is over, the content doesn’t matter anymore. It is necessary for teachers to reinforce the fact that school is a learning institution rather than a test-taking institution.

A policy of handing back old tests is especially important in AP classes, since students are tested on all of the material on the AP tests in May. SHS students already overly stress themselves out over the dreaded AP tests, and not being able to know what mistakes they have made on past tests can greatly add to the stress.

SHS is full of students who are eager to learn and when teachers refuse to let students view their mistakes on tests, those teachers are, whethProxy-Connection: keep-alive
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with well or ill-intentions, robbing the students from a valuable learning opportunity. Policies for allowing students to view their old tests must be established, and teachers must find ways of preventing cheating other than not handing back tests. The fact is that everyone makes mistakes, and mistakes make excellent opportunities to learn.

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