Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Much Depends on the Efficacy of Slightly Elaborated Multiple Choice Questions

Caralee Adams:

The (new SAT) reading test drills down, more specifically, asking students to answer questions based on what is stated and implied in texts across a range of content areas and determine which portion of a text best supports the answer to a given question.

Let me just say that I totally get the genesis of the role of citing evidence in college preparedness. I took a number of literature courses with undergraduates at Brown, well, 15 years ago (not long at all!) while getting my MAT in English, thus while quite conscious of what was going on around me pedagogically, and YES! indeed, many of my professors would get quite peevish about constantly having to ask students to cite evidence for their opinions during a comparative literature seminar!

Yet, as our new deeply intertwined systems of curriculum, assessment and accountability roll out, it is hard not to feel like far too much is resting on the premise that adding a ubiquitous "determine which portion of a text best supports the answer to a given question" step to basically every reading task or test a student will undertake as a primary or secondary school student is going to trigger some sort of substantive improvement in American education.

That is, when this process started, I don't think reformers would have predicted that this particular point would be a centerpiece of their agenda, but from my perspective, it has turned out that way.

No comments: