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« The Age of Empire | Main | Education: The move to "who they are" »


Gemi Powell

Can testing be truly sensitive to the tested and not biased by the beliefs, understandings and personal style of the test creator/developer?

Another good question, “Is there a way to accurately form test questions to measure the knowledge and understanding of a topic without being skewed by outstanding variables? Also, is there a way to accurately take into consideration the variables mentioned without skewing the measurable outcome?

If that is possible it would probably be more successful than our current system.

One must understand this system of testing can easily go in the wrong direction and perhaps do more damage than good. A good example of testing gone awry is Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) in the public schools. The questions are formed in such a way that the school teachers spend much of their time teaching the students how to understand the meaning of the questions instead of teaching valuable subject content.

Jay Ekleberry

A test, customized OR not, is only a measure of what I (the test's author) think was important for the test taker to learn. IF we are to truely RESPECT our adult learners as subjects of their own learning then we will work very hard to always let them, the learner, decide what is most important for them to learn!

Suzanne Ciebiera

If my work relied only on testing, I would be extremely happy. I enjoy the challenges of testing, but I recognize that most of life's challenges are best overcome by thoughtful and, often, hard work. The repetitive experience of overcoming challenges by the quicker means of passing a test may not allow children to develop the skill, discipline and patience required to address many higher education and career choices (not to mention the varied challenges of personal lives).

Les Vierra

The panacea of testing,standardized or tailored, bodes well for those whose cognitive styles thrive on writing skills. Unfortunately funding bodies, and statisticians, have determined that all pupils should meet certain levels of "regurgitation" of a very prescribed vocabulary . The best indicators of probable success in college still are high school grades. And teachers are still the best evaluators of knowledge and skills application--if they don't have to teach to a standardized test. I agree with Julie that teaching and evaluation (not just written tests)should be adapted to indiviual cognitive styles. It's the level of mastery that is important--not the comparison and ranking. Unfortunately funding is geared to standardization. Tailored testing may be a part of evaluation--but not the whole enchilada. (See, metaphors are important in writing.)

Suzanne Kart

I think we will definitely need to change the way we test. My experience with exams is that they test how well you memorize, rather than what you've learned (and I am a BAD memorizer).

Terry Newman

We tailor or customize just about everything else, clothing, hamburgers, cars, etc. Why not do the same for one of the most important areas in our lives?

Terry Newman

I'd like to hear from Clarence to hear more about why he feels test tailoring does more harm than good. Having moved to a small rural community a year ago, I have become more in touch with minorities and immigrants. I can see how individualized testing could really benefit many students and give them the confidence to continue on in school.


Is such "test tailoring" really good as a cross-platform measure of ability? No. Having been a student given such "tailored tests" in experimental study evaluations in the past to see if I could learn even faster, I can cite that they do more harm than good.

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