A Typical Reaction to Traditional Assessments

I have a confession to make…I am allergic to traditional assessments.

I realized this while taking exams in college (and much recently) that I am not really the type to study. When I was in college, I find it easier to remember the lessons being taught in class when I listen to the lecture and participate in discussions. Most of our assessments then were through term papers and class participation because of the nature of my course, so I rarely get to encounter traditional exams that require me to define, enumerate, choose between test items and the like.

But of course, when taking exams to assess proficiency in another language, or subjects like math, for example, traditional assessments are the necessary to gauge learning, but as I mentioned, I am not really the one to study…and I am fond of cramming. Of course, this works to my disadvantage, as I realized recently.

I had to take a completion exam for one of my subjects for PTC. I think I somehow breezed through the essay part. But when I came to the itemized test questions to define and differentiate commonly used terms, and identify acronyms, my heart dropped to the floor and my mind went blank. I remember my brain racing for answers, but I couldn’t find any. I tried the tricks I learned when preparing for the UPCAT to answer questions that I am sure of answering, and I only answered less than 50% of the total questions.

I think I could imagine the red marks on my exam paper, when I re-read through the course materials and found the answers to the questions I fumbled answering (big time). I could only groan in frustration and bite my nails in anticipation of my final grade (huhuhuhuhu). It was a very humbling experience.

I remembered in the discussion forums there was a heated discussion over traditional and alternative assessments. I most likely waved my way to the alternative assessments camp because I am not fond of studying, and I tend to relate my understanding of my learning with my experiences (the tendency of adult learners). But one cannot discount the advantages of traditional assessments, because for a lack of a good description, it grounds the student to the basics. How can a student defend his/her answers well if she/he does not master the basics which traditional assessments best assess?


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