april, 2019

18apr1:00 am1:00 amTest thisBy Emma Voulgaris

desks in a classroom



Test this: Evaluating students based on their strengths



While tests and assignments change in level of difficulty as you begin college or university, the way students strengths and abilities are evaluated unfortunately haven’t.


Students have become all too familiar with the multiple choices, short and long answers, essay questions, and fill in the blanks, of standardized testing formats. While most student have a preference or feel like they score better with certain styles in particular, none of these techniques appropriately portray students true potential.


Multiple choice questions, if taken seriously, are usually answered using probability, or in a lot of circumstances, by a system of guestimation. Short answers seem to be the better alternative to testing students knowledge but in reality they lend themselves to how a lot of students learn to study – memorization.


Memorizing notes, theories and formulas not how students should be encouraged to study but with structures that promote remembering information verbatim students are not influenced to study any other way. It wasn’t until my second year of university that I met a professor

who had opened my eyes to smarter ways of testing and more productive methods of studying.


A professor I had for a class on the historical structure and policies of the media industry gave students the opportunity to showcase their understanding of key concepts through their individual personal strengths. For myself, long answer and essay questions are how I get my ideas across, but for some it may be in the form of drawings, songs, shapes, charts, the options are almost endless. And this one professor accepted that and used it to fuel students success.


Although he still wrote up tests with the standard parts like short answer, multiple choice, and essay questions, he allowed students to answer them however they wanted that would illustrate their understanding best. This coupled with his teaching techniques such as

relating topics and themes to songs, movies, and other audio-visual stimuli to help students better remember, made him stand out amongst all the other professors I had.


While this method of testing or grading may be misconceived as an ‘easy marker’ or a professor who gives students an easy way out, that was not the case. This professor gave out fair and structured grades, making high marks a well earned treat. He utilized content

and topics relatable to our generation in order to help us better grasp ideas and recall them because of his ability to link them to our own understandings of similar concepts.


As I  prepare to graduate I look back on both my high school and university career and remember his lectures most vividly. I am thankful to have been believed in and supported by a professor who acknowledged not everybody learns the same way. What works for one person may not work for the next. As I prepare to leave university I hope the future is full of professors like mine that help students find their own strengths through their studies.



Photo by Feliphe Schiarolli on Unsplash

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