"You're aware the boy failed my grade school math class, I take it? And not that many years later he's teaching college. Now I ask you: Is that the sorriest indictment of the American educational system you ever heard? No aptitude at all for long division, but never mind. It's him they ask to split the atom. How he talked his way into the Nobel prize is beyond me. But then, I suppose it's like the man says, 'It's not what you know...'"
  - Karl Arbeiter (former teacher of Albert Einstein)

How is it that Albert Einstein's teacher so misunderstood the potential of his brilliant student? Do we overlook the talents of our students because we do not offer them opportunities to succeed, or worse yet test in ways different from how we teach?

When planning a class, a useful approach is to remember how you felt when you were a student.

  • Do you remember the frustrations you felt when you did not understand how grades were assigned?
  • Did you wish you had the opportunity to express your opinions about the design of a course, lesson or activity?
  • Did you ever receive what you felt was an unfair grade?
  • Did you have a teacher that taught you to memorize and then tested your analytical skills?

Probably the most common mistake we make as teachers is teaching one way, and then testing another. It is also common for faculty to create an environment where students spend more time psyching out the teacher (guessing how they will test, or what they might ask) then they do learning the material. This module was designed to help you communicate even more effectively with your learners. It includes information about tests and testing. It includes recommendations about how to most effectively assess various forms of student learning and design tests to match your goals for your learners. The module also explores the function of grades and the value of rubrics. Never heard of a rubric? You aren't alone. K-12 teachers depend on them and consider them requisite for good teaching. A rubric outlines how an assignment will be graded. It provides a guide for both the student's endeavours and the faculty member's grading practice.

- by Kristina Kauffman and Cassie Morton


This module contains the following main readings:

  1. Tests and Testing
  2. Grades and Grading
  3. Test Construction


By the end of this module you should be able to:

1. Use grades to communicate.

2. Describe the relationship between assessment and grading.

3. Construct test items that embody each of your course objectives.


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Knowledge Check

The pedagogical methodology associated with the teacher in the role of facilitator is:

A. project learning.
B. case study learning.
C. contextual learning.
D. collaborative learning.