Timed Tests

By | January 7, 2018

Pencils ready? Get set… Go!

The pressure is on. Math  problems, science evaluations, reading true-false or multiple choice questions, or history essays. The clock is ticking down; your brain is searching for the information you need to complete the timed test. How does that make you feel?

Most people feel anxious knowing they have a limited amount of time to “get it right” or to finish as much as possible and show what they know.

Math is the most common use of timed tests. Do they have any value?

Measuring this one aspect of mathematics—fact recall—using timed tests is both flawed as an assessment approach and damaging to many students’ confidence and willingness to tackle new problems.

 At a time when we want to help every student learn challenging, rigorous, and relevant mathematics, we must look for ways to tap into each student’s strengths, not fall into the trap of believing that timed tests are the way we identify our good mathematics students.

 The above quote from Faster Isn’t Smarter by Cathy L. Seeley (2009) encapsulates current thinking about timed tests. Educators tend to believe that limiting answers via timed tests create anxiety rather than build skills.

What’s your opinion???