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.