So how do we make assessment better? Question that has been asked many times in education and not one that is easily answered. Companies want students to focus on the "Seven Survival Skills":
- Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
- Agility and Adaptability
- Initiative and Entrepreneurialism
- Accessing and Analyzing Information
Seems like a lot to ask for out of a something that will be testing the students on their knowledge of the cell cycle. Not saying that it cannot be done, or it shouldn't, just going to take a lot of time, effort, and money to create a test that will touch all seven survival skills and hit the standards that need to be taught. And when it is done, how long will it take for a teacher to grade such a test. So I can see, in time alone, why a multiple choice test is the preferred test in education.
So again it comes down to time. What do teacher's choose to spend the time on in their classroom. Do they focus on getting through all the content that the standards or framework says that the students should know? Or do they focus on what is really important, getting the students prepared for college and the work force. In regards to standardized, multiple choice tests, Wagner points out in regards to hiring companies, "Yet employers across a wide range of business, including high-tech companies, appear to place comparatively little value on content knowledge in either math or science as a prerequisite for work today" (Wagner 91). So if companies, even in the high-tech industry, do not care if the student is an expert, or mastered the content, then why do we have tests that just focus on content? I feel that we need to step away from what is easy and quick to grade, and look into test that will assess the students ability to critically think, collaborate, communicate, and so on. It doesn't have to be a final assessment on a unit covering genetics, but multiple labs, projects, assignments that tests the students ability to use information to solve a problem. The direct information they get from the teacher is not used to answer the questions directly, but as another source of information like the book or computer.