Editorial: Testing on the same playing field


Olivia Lauter

Students who take tests at home are not under the same teacher supervision as in-class students. Students at home can resources without teacher knowledge.

In August, families chose whether to send their students back on campus for hybrid learning or remain fully online. When students returned to in-person learning on Sept. 8, teachers have been responsible for providing the same quality of education to students in their classroom and to those on Zoom. However, as the year progressed and teachers started administering tests and quizzes, the disparity between those that chose to return to school and those that chose to remain home started to grow. Students that are in classrooms while giving a test are being monitored by a teacher; however, those that are taking the test on Zoom are only being monitored through a screen, giving them an advantage.

In order to make sure that all students are being treated fairly, tests should be open note, timed and be in multiple forms to ensure that all students are on the same playing field. 

Currently, teachers are unable to monitor what resources students are using on tests  since they are only able to see a fraction of students’ faces or surroundings on Zoom. In order to ensure that no students have unfair advantages during an assessment, teachers should make all tests open note and allow students to use the internet. By explicitly stating that students can use external resources regardless of their location, this disadvantage no longer exists. Teachers have been using Google Forms, AP Classroom, Albert and Socrative, among other platforms to push out assessments. For classes that have writing components, mostly English and history, teachers have been making essays major grades. When it comes to academic integrity, teachers throughout multiple departments are making students sign a form before each assessment and others are relying on students to be honest.

Should teachers implement more rules to ensure fair testing?

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In some classes, teachers have been giving students entire days to take tests. Setting time limits and making tests more concept based will help test students’ learning rather than their ability to look through notes and look up answers. Setting time limits on when students can take the test prevents students from spending the entire day to ask friends for help and look up every question in their notes or online.When students are at home, they are able to complete assignments on their own time. However, when it comes to testing in classrooms teachers are making it a requirement for students to take a test during the designated class period. If virtual students are given a test anytime during the day, while students in class are required to take it while they are in class, those at home could use extra time to study and prepare. If students are being given a window in which they have to take a test, then teachers should put a timer on the test itself so that everyone is given an amount of time as if they were in class.

Teachers have arranged desks in a manner in which they are spaced out which prohibits communication. At home, students have the ability to call or interact with their peers while taking a test. To make sure that reaching out to other students doesn’t help, tests should be given in different forms and questions should be randomized. Getting help from another person has always been considered a form of cheating and since some students could potentially do so, tests should be made in a way to make outside help of less value. 

Although it may seem that making tests open note and allowing internet usage may take away from students making an effort to learn, it is the only way to ensure that all students are being given the same advantages while taking a test.

To make testing fair for all students, regardless of whether they are hybrid or fully virtual, teachers should make sure that all students have the same advantages and resources by allowing open note tests, enforcing a set time limit and making sure there are multiple forms of tests.