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Quizzes inaccurately measure comprehension

Posted By Hannah Levitan On May 6, 2019 @ 10:37 am In Opinion | Comments Disabled

A reading quiz is an inefficient way to measure reading comprehension of a book for English class due to the exam’s demand for a perfect memory.

In IB English Literature I HL, teachers often assess if students actually read the assigned book through reading quizzes that include a variety of questions focused on specific details throughout the book.

Reading quizzes are formative, meaning the grades do not carry over into the following quarter or determine or affect an individual’s final grade. Therefore, the quizzes are a waste of both the student’s and teacher’s time.

Rather than relying on reading quizzes to ensure all students read the books, English teachers should lead a discussion or socratic seminar where students can prove they read the book and understood it as a whole.

Seminars show student knowledge and understanding of the text;.They require a more in-depth analysis rather than filling in blanks on a quiz, where students can easily turn to Spark Notes for a summary.

I have read every book for English class front-to-back, yet still manage to receive low reading quiz grades.

Though I am an active participant in class and am able to analyze texts, I do not have the strong memory these quizzes demand.

Students who rely on Spark Notes as opposed to reading the books usually get higher grades compared to those who take the time to truly read the texts.

Because students can easily find summaries of the books online, asking students to answer questions with a one word response is ineffective.

I have never been good at memory-based tests, and I do not think my ability to remember small details such as the name of a minor character or the opening line of a certain chapter should determine my quarter grade when reading quizzes do not actually matter in the course, long-term.

Instead, English courses should use socratic seminars to see if the students understand what is actually important- the author’s stylistic choices and overall message.

by hannah levitan


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