George Lucas Educational Foundation

Problems returning Tests in a timely fashion

Problems returning Tests in a timely fashion

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I have been a teacher at the middle school level for more than 30 years, and am now semi-retired teaching graduate school. I am also the parent of a high school Sophomore and have run into this problem consistently for the past four years from middle school to the present. Many of the teachers do not return assessments either at all ( only giving students a look at the grade) or very late, two or more weeks after the test. Having been in the classroom for many years I understand the issue of time trying to grade open response questions from 135 students. But I learned that it was critical to my students that they get their tests back very quickly in order for them to learn what it was they had not understood and got incorrect on the test, as well as to confirm their knowledge and understanding. The responses that I have received from my son's teachers is that they need to keep the "integrity of the test intact" in order to give valid make up tests for those students who were absent. I don't know if this is a unique issue with my school district, but I suspect it is not. Can any of you offer suggestions to these teachers how to manage an issue that I believe is very important to the learning process?

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Ms. Johnson's picture
Ms. Johnson
February 2011 assigned CSR Teacher 1st grade position by district HR.

As a middle school teacher I had to find a solution to the parent cries claiming "I never got it!" after I learned that the student failed to take home scored assignments. To address this growing problem which seemed to manifest in middle school I found that teacher to parent text-messaging; student portfolios (with work, for parent teacher conferences); detailed written project descriptions with parent signatures required; quarterly progress report--in addition to report cards; grading rubrics in advance of project due dates; weekly agenda to the home; and student-graphed test results make for stronger student-teacher-parent learning communities. Reality reveals that with the increased demands on teacher time teachers must set priorities. With all of these data vessels passing through, is the actual scored test required before scheduled parent teacher conferences, text messages, or progress reports?

Kathy Morlan's picture
Kathy Morlan
High School English Teacher

I am terrible at returning tests. When I make a test, I end up making 3 or 4 versions. The first version is for the actual test day. Version two is for those students who were absent. Version 3 is for those students who did not score well and want a retest. Version 4 is for those students who did not score well and want a retest on a different day or want to re-re-test.
Sometimes Version 1 & 2 are given the same day to double check for cheating.
Oftentimes when I hand back classwork and tests, the student dumps it in the recycling bin on the way out the door.

Kay Butler's picture
Kay Butler
HS Mathematics and MS/HS Pre-Engineering teacher, from South Louisiana

Personally, as a teacher who has taught 12 different courses in the past seven years, I can identify with the idea of "maintaining the integrity of the test" - with the limited number of hours in a day and the increasing demands on my time [on-line grading, on-line agendas, development of instructional activities and academic projects (which take hours, even if only modifying a "ready-made" activity or project to suit my needs), grading projects and tests, tutoring, extra-curricular activities, etc], I sometimes have to administer the publisher's tests to my mathematics or engineering students when I don't have time to make out tests myself (I usually make out at least two versions to avoid the near occasion of sin - coveting/stealing thy neighbor's answers, aka cheating, aka plagiarism). When I use publisher's tests, I do not allow the students to bring their tests home. With two or more teachers teaching the same subject, it would not be wise to compromise the integrity of publisher's tests by allowing them to leave my class. Therefore, I have my students make corrections in their notebooks during class (or during tutoring time which is offered during lunch or after school if additional time is needed - I don't get paid for tutoring). We post individual grades on-line, making them available to our parents as soon as we finish grading assignments / tests. Parents are always welcome to inquire about specific assessments via email, telephone, or by requesting an individual personal conference. I keep my students' chapter / unit tests for parent-teacher conferences as well as throughout the next semester (in case of any discrepancies pertaining to a student's grades). If I were to send tests home, I'd be lucky to get them back (much less get them back with parent signatures on them!) . . . even when I give a work ethic grade for returning them within 3 days! If anyone has a solution to this problematic situation, please post it here! Thanks! :)

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