Testing is an integral part of any college, including Salt Lake Community College. But while tests are one way to measure a student’s absorption and retention of a particular subject, there is more to learning than just a score.
Putting such a high emphasis on test scores may actually be a hindrance to students and also a college’s overall ranking. Since every student learns differently, making a generalized testing system the only means by which a student can progress is subtracting from the ability to learn.
The math department at SLCC has instituted a rule for Math 1010; if a student gets below 60% on the final exam then their final grade will be no higher than a D for the entire class. The rule reduces the amount of students who barely pass Math 1010 and fail their next math course.
A similar rule is in place for developmental math courses. But hinging everything on only one test may not be the best way to assess a student’s knowledge.
Aside from the Math 1010 rule, SLCC is trying to determine a student’s overall progress through other factors called learning outcomes, which are based off of rubrics from the National Association of American Colleges and Universities.
The learning outcomes are guidelines for what SLCC wants a student to achieve and be able to implement when finished with a particular degree.
“Testing is an important component as to how students get a good grade, but the institution is keenly interested in assessing student assignments to see whether they are meeting out learning outcomes,” says David Hubert, assistant provost of learning advancement.
Although SLCC is gearing up to focus on more than just an exam score or a single test score, it still has policies in place, like the Math 1010 rule, that only focus on one test score for the entire class.
Testing not only affects students, but a school’s accreditation as well.
When a college or university does not consistently provide good test scores, then the institution will experience a decrease in accreditation. In order to focus on more than just test scores a college or university must change its stated purpose to focus on different assessments.
SLCC could improve its accreditation and lower student stress if the college shifts its purpose towards learning outcomes and away from a single test score.
Final tests are devious as they come. Not only do they give you problems that are extremely difficult, on purpose, but they typically give you problems that the professor more than likely didn’t discuss in any of his/her lectures. To grade a student based on their test taking abilities is not a true measure of one’s intelligence. Industry doesn’t care about your grades, nor do they care about how quickly you can learn something or for how long you can retain it. It’s all a game, and if you play the game to get the piece of paper, that industry desires that you have, then you might be a likely candidate for their political agendas. Some industries, such as Network Administration, demand their own form of testing, which is vastly different than the one cited about the Math1010 final test. Albeit a test, it is much more flexible in terms of grading your skill level. Certificates of these types, also allow for you to repeat the test, without the need to retake the entire course. Studying for a final test, can not only be extremely stressful, but almost pointless. The percentage of people who can retain everything that they studied during the entire semester is more than likely less than 5%. We’re not allowed to use notes of any kind. If real world can’t dictate how you get the job done, but more when will the job be done, than why is it so important that us students take a pointless test that really has no measure one anyone’s intelligence, other than their ability to memorize nonsense that more than likely you’ll never use? Some courses, especially those that are core classes, don’t even have a final test, than why do any of the math classes have them? If homework has no bearing on your final grade, other than to ‘assist’ you on preparing for the final, than why even bother with the homework? Not only will this process never change, due to the corrupt system that is higher education, but even if it does change it won’t be in the benefit of the consumer, which is the student. If we are the industries clients, than industry should be more flexible in providing a way that we can prove our intelligence, not through outdated pointless testing which is to say the least, deceptive to begin with.
Comments are closed.