Recently, on one of my walkabouts through the hallways after school I was approached by a Grade 8 student who asked me a question: "Mr. Leslie", he said, "do you think tests should be based on memorization or application?" I was a little stunned by the depth of the question, since the young man was new to the school and to the secondary system. I also assumed that he was like many students, more interested in "playing the game" and getting good scores than questioning the methods and thinking about learning. Really, I should not have been so surprised. Students are all thoughtful and capable learners who know what is important in their education, and are often being encouraged to question and challenge. He continued, "I am not great at remembering things, but I can look them up. Isn't it more important that I be able to know how to use those pieces of information? That is what I am pretty good at, but too often I don't get to show it on a test, because I am being asked only what I can remember."
Thanks for the reminder of what we are here to do, Travis. Teachers are supposed to help you develop your critical thinking skills, and your question reminds me of that purpose. Tests should not be about regurgitation of isolated facts, and I love that you understand this. I will be sure to ask your question of our staff as we work through the District Assessment Policy and Guidelines.