Say “No” to cumulative exams
Published: Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, May 2, 2012 11:05
It’s easy to say that cumulative testing is a horrible idea, so let’s just get that out of the way first. Cumulative testing is a horrible idea.
“Why?” you ask. Concrete statitistics that support this argument are few and far between, unless there is cumulative database somewhere.
Let’s look at the visual approach. If you look at your calendar, obviously it has 12 months. One third of that calendar is all this information you learn in one single class for the semester.
One class, four months of information. All of which you will be tested on in a two hour period. Never mind the fact that you have other classes, possibly a job and other real life issues to deal with.
Does that seem fair?
Suppose you are in a relationship. What if your spouse tested you on everything he or she ever told you during the first four months of dating, do you think you would pass? Reminder: you only have two hours. Good luck.
Finals are hard enough as it is. There are more clammy hands, dry throats and nail biting than at an American Idol audition.
Then the test is worth like 93 percent of your grade. It’s like going to court with a textbook. If you fail, prepare to head to the prison of course-retake.
There are some alternative views to cumulative testing that proved to be strong points.
"It matters what you know when you walk out the door. Most of our classes are leading to another class," Kara Greer, a math professor at Parkland, said.
Her argument in this case is valid. Math and science classes are foundation builders, assuming you are a math or science major. In this case, cumulative testing is quite necessary to test what you know before you move on because the basic concepts will reappear.
But what if it’s just a general education requirement? Should you suffer the same fate?
Should the knowledge be pounded repeatedly in your head knowing it’s not going to serve any purpose past the test you take?
Society, whether we choose to believe so or not, is based on a 'what have you done for me lately standard.' Testing should be the exact same way. What have you taught me lately?
People have a hard enough time recapping the last week of their own life. Regurgitating facts from eons ago is asking a lot.
Debate if you will, or cumulatively gather all the facts from above and accept it as truth.