It’s the end of a midterm/semester: One student gets an A and another student gets an F.
People are quick to judge that the F student probably deserved it.. didn’t pay attention in class like the A student.
But if the A student had already known the subject before starting the class, then potentially the teacher is at blame, as neither student learned anything new.
If we were to test students before sending them to a class, and only send people that don’t know the subject, then everyone in the class would be on a more equal playing field..
This approach seems pretty obvious to me.. Why don’t people do it?
Lots of schools already have a tiered system of class levels.. But to be placed into one requires the recommendation of a previous teacher.
Why don’t all students just get tested before starting a new class?
dragonx254: Uh, my school did this. Assuming the student wanted to.
You could test out of any core subject. Already know biology? You could test out and jump to Chemistry. Or test out of Pre-calc. Or US History.
Most students didn’t though because they just wanted an easy course to blow through and buff their GPA. Only ambitious students test out.
TheRedditPaperclip: They do that at the college I went to. You can take a test at the beginning of a class and if you can ace it you can test out of the class and get credit for it without having to sit through the whole semester
ThatBurningDog: I can’t speak for the US system and I know there are a lot of differences between you and the UK education system.
In the UK there are a number of private secondary schools (basically your high school, I would guess – age 13 and up) who have entrance exams. You also have prep schools – the education up to that point that prepare you for this entrance exam, hence the name.
Therein lies a common criticism. You basically end up preparing children for an exam, rather than actually teaching them useful skills which will help them in life generally.
While your idea is good in an ideal world, you would need to make sure that these tests were not tied into the level of education that student will get. It would be very tempting for a school (who likely gets paid based on performance) to reject the lower scoring students in favour of the ones likely to get better grades. If you measure on improvement, the schools would likely reject the highest and lowest performers initially in the hope the D-E students improve the most.
itty53: Many schools do this. They’re called “placement tests”.
GreenStrong: That would work with some subjects, not for others. If you can pass a geometry test, you know geometry. If you can pass a test that demonstrates that you know information about government and law, that isn’t the same as having a debate in class about the balance between the rights of a person accused of crime and the need of society to be safe. Knowledge of science can be tested, but students are expected to get some basic familiarity with lab equipment and simple experiments.
Not all learning can be measured by a test.
Madeagoodchoice: I teach at my local community college. Day 2 of class, everyone takes the final exam in all my classes, and then they take the exact same exam again at the end of the semester. We all see how much they learned.
So when a student submits an evaluation that they complain they didn’t learn anything, I have actual proof that they *did* learn something because the always do better on the post-test than the pre-test.
StealthSecrecy: The point of a class is not to compare students to each other. The point is to teach you the subject, and then your mark is a reflection of how well you understand the subject.
Your example is extremely specific, implying that there are only 2 people in the class, and that one completely knows the course, while the other doesn’t. For one you’re going to have a bigger class size, and when looking at the mark distribution of the whole class you can see if maybe the instructor is to blame if the average is under a passing grade. And secondly it’s very rare that someone taking a course would already know everything about the course, even if they’re very experienced.
rotcel2: they’re called pretests and postests wif.
izzy_garcia-shapiro: I work in education/educational psych and think this every fucking day. Even kids should do this. Forcing kids to spend a year doing busywork on shit they already know makes them hate school.
kyled85: Google CLEP exams. I tested out of an entire semester worth of intro courses and saved a ton of money.
Arianity: Most schools do this, it’s just not advertised because it’s extremely rare. Even for an intelligent student, if you were enrolled in algebra last year, you probably don’t know pre-calc. There’s no reason to test for it, for 99.99% of students. They’re sequential.
For the motivated students, you can be bumped up a year. The hard part is providing proof. If you (for example) took a course at a university and provided the transcript, you can be bumped up. It’s harder if it’s not formal education though.
Tests are not completely comprehensive. Tests are written based on the assumption that you’ve been working on the material for 6(or 12) months. They don’t test every bit of material you picked up from the course. (and even if you did know all the material, you miss out on stuff like in class discussions, which have some value)
Designing those tests/system is a nontrivial use of resources that 99.999% of students don’t use, so most don’t really bother.
FWIW, i took pre-calc over the summer online (BYU). My school didn’t have any official policy to skip a year or whatever, and it wasn’t a problem. You just need to ask.
Juicy_Hamburger: My school has this policy in place. A pre-test and a post-test for English, Math, Science, Social Studies, Spanish, Art, Gym (yes, Gym), etc.
I scored nearly perfect on my social studies pre-test last year. Improved about 6 points by the end of the year, 1 short from perfect.
remenation: It’s about making money friendo
kashif_: School you can know something without learning it nobody is born knowing anything
saltywings: Tests arent a great indicator of full understanding and not all encompassing.
mynameisalso: They do you just do not remember..
sonofaresiii: Sometimes they do.
No, not every college class offers you the opportunity to test out. In fact it’s fairly rare. They’ll usually do it for a few instances, like being able to test out of language requirements, or sometimes they’ll do it to see where to place new students instead of always having them start at the bottom, but it’s atypical to be able to test out of every class.
Typically they don’t let you because: in theory, the knowledge gained throughout a class is more than being able to pass a test. Some people may be able to pass a test without *really* knowing what they’re doing.
But also because schools are in the business of educating people, not confirming that they’re already educated.
7yearlurkernowposter: Can’t profit if students don’t enroll in the class.