I give this a lot of thought as an educator. Is it fair to assess all students in the same way? Is it fair to give the highest student in the class the right answer on an extensive reading passage question when they answered it as simply as possible without giving a thorough justification, but the student on the IEP wrote three times as much and answered it just as well and to the best of their ability?
A colleague and I were recently talking about the “right” answers on a test we gave. He stated that he would often give students credit if they put A or B, even if B is the right answer. His rational was that he could see why students would say A if they hadn’t yet moved to a higher level of thinking, but still thought concretely. I argued that the higher level students should be pushed to this higher level of thinking if they have already demonstrated it numerous times. I stated that I may let some students write A, but that B would be required for others to get the answer right. He stated that I wasn’t be “fair”. Is he right? Should I expect the same exact answer from all students when both *could* be right? (My principal then went on to say that answers should be weighted. So that answer B would be worth two points, A worth 1, and C and D worth 0. DUR! Why didn’t I think of this!?!)
Should we go to all constructed response questions? Would that be a better judge of our students’ abilities? Or does that just make correcting that much more of a nightmare and cause more stress in students? Maybe each question needs a checklist and students get credit for responding with each appropriate topic. But then how do we measure higher level thinking?
There’s a saying I’ve heard for a lot of years. “If you want “fair”, go to the carnival and ride the rides.” Do you think there’s some truth to this?
Another saying I’ve heard, “What’s equal is not always fair, and what’s fair is not always equal.” Thoughts on this one?
Albert Einstein definitely said it best – “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
I have so many questions in this post. I’d love to hear your thoughts because I’m definitely not sure where I stand on this one…