Tuesday, 25 March 2008


Child's Play posted this wonderful post today: Feeding the Elephant.

This got me thinking about sharing my own methodology. As many of you know I also teach online classes at our local community college. There are certain things I have to test my students on, but the way I manage these are up to me. So the test/quiz is required BUT they can correct it for full points at any time. Also, the quizzes are only 10% of the overall grade. When I taught face to face classes, I allowed the students freedom to take these quizzes at home, in class, or wherever they felt comfortable. Test anxiety is a huge issue in performance.

Did students cheat? Sure, I'm sure some did, but the majority did not. Most corrected what they got wrong and actively sought out to find out why. Each student was missing different skill sets coming into the classroom, and these quizzes assisted in identifying them on an individual basis. If they cheated, it showed in their other work, because the skill sets were never addressed.

So what about the other 90% of the grade? Portfolio AND at the end they evaluate their own progress using the portfolio as their proof. Yes, I evaluate it too, but the real learning comes from the students not from my grade entry. That is what keeps me teaching.

I also learn from them. They choose their own topics through the term and do the exercises with those. I've learned about farm equipment, video gaming, cloth diapering, cookie decorating, motor cross, rugby, etc......all from the students own interest. This too, keeps me teaching.

I can't imagine how it must be for teachers who have to teach to a test year after year. K-12 or college.

That is another thing I love about homeschooling the way we do- the freedom to learn and to love learning. I attempt each term to bring that to my classrooms, both online and in our world.


  1. I love that way of teaching. The test is just so non-important! :) Good memories. (I taught a few classes while getting my masters.)

  2. I always really appreciated the teachers that allowed me to go back and correct the things I got wrong. Instead of just blowing off those things and moving on, I enjoyed figuring out where I went wrong, and why. It made learning less stressful and more like a puzzle to figure out.

    I also always appreciated the portfolio teachers. :) My test taking is awful, and it wasn't uncommon for me to have an A in the class only to fail the tests. So frustrating!

  3. That's just it. Testing is a skill of its own and I don't have time to teach it. I have to teach content.

    I realized the absurdity in testing with my ACT score. I finished 1/2 of each section before the timer was called and when that happened I started filling in bubbles with B. My score overall? 27. My lowest section score was math 19 and highest was a 34 in reading. ????? It just made no sense to me.

    So, why test in a class at all? I have a small enough class that I get to know their work and their skills if I pay attention. But then I have hoops I have to jump through to prove I am working. I make it work for everyone. :)

    Students really love portfolios too. It is nice to see their work collected and review progress. Even Lil'Bug loves that I collect her art work and loves flipping through to see her new skills evolve. :)


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