Tag Archives: testing


Image courtesy of Jack Hynes
I’m back! For those that actually read my blog, I apologize for the long hiatus. In keeping with the spirit of this blog and my single word titles, I give you my one word excuses: testing, marking, moving, celebrating, moving, searching, moving, buying, interviewing, accepting, learning, teaching, preparing, sleeping. There, does that help?

There have been a few things floating around in my mind lately (but only a few), most of them related to assessment. My current frustration is with ‘teaching to the test’, often associated with washback (not to be mistaken for backwash which is just gross). I am getting ahead of myself. Let me back track a bit. Continue reading Testing



Image courtesy of Cushing Memorial Library and Archives, Texas A&M

I admit it. I am one of those who actually likes writing tests. I hate marking them, but as a student, I actually looked forward to exams. Why? For the most part, I was able to coast through most of my high school classes and then cram at the end of the term for the final. I could remember most of the thing I needed to get a high enough mark to complete the class. Not the best way of working and that eventually changed in university, but it illustrates a few problems with testing as it is primarily implemented in schools.

I teach adults which is different than teaching children or young adults. For the most part, there is a motivational shift, so what I am about to propose probably wouldn’t transfer as well into the K-12 system. Also, I teach English language students which is different than teaching science or math. Lastly, most of my students were raised in cultures where education is approached differently than in Canada where I teach. Those are my caveats.

I was thinking today about the upcoming term and how I use assessment in my classroom. For the most part, I don’t have a lot of control of what happens since I work for a university and there are some things that need to be done to meet the institutional guidelines for the course. There is some flexibility in what I do beyond the two biggest tests (ie. midterm and final exams), but I can make changes in how I assess beyond that. To this point, I have tried and number of approaches with varying success. All of these assessment types have been set by me according to what I have felt is best for assessing how my students are progressing. Then today, I came across this tweet from the Cambridge University Press ELT department: Continue reading Assessing