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Should achievement tests be timed?

I am an educator (postsecondary) and I am debating whether to continue timing the exams I administer or allowing students to take the entire class time to take an exam. I would like to know the opinions of viewers.

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  • 1 decade ago
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    Only if the the tests are standardized. Those test compare the students to other students so time is an issue. However, with my students, sometimes more time doesn't help. Either you know it or you don't!

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Well then, if they can only take the 'whole class' isn't that also a time limit? :P

    I personally don't think time should PRESSURE a student. I think that can skew results unnecessarily. Students should have twice as much time as they actually need, so they have lots of time to relax, slow down and take a break if necessary and check over their work. If you are trying to assess knowledge and ability you should not try to skew the results by using strange time limits that require students to rush through what they're doing.

    The test also shouldn't be excessively long so that things like fatigue set in. Tests shouldn't test endurance and how long you can stay concentrated. That's why I really dispise exams of more than 2 hours; it's too long!

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  • 1 decade ago

    I have been tested to have an IQ in excess of 140 and yet I have a problem remembering the word I want to use. Usually if I think about it for a while the word finally comes to me. When taking a timed test I tend to give up and use phrases for the actual words I wish I could use. There is nothing wrong with timing a test when the community of test takers is homogeneous but if there are special people involved ( not just protected classes but others that may have trouble with the methodology of the test) some way to eliminate the handicap of timing should be found.

    My daughters each read at the third grade level before starting first grade. Their small muscle control was consistent with their chronological age and therefore they could not write at anything like the level of their reading ability. Hunt and peck typing and using tape recorders to "write papers" were both used to help them complete classes consistent with their abilities. If the purpose of the class was to improve handwriting then that is one thing. I assume we are talking about some course in something other than test taking.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I'm a science teacher.

    I guess as I see parents and students demand more and more rights over time, then we become more accomodating. Within reason, I just let my students continue taking tests and exams. I make every effort to make them of reasonable length, though, so that I run into that problem as infrequently as possible.

    If a student is going to get an "A" on an exam, they will get an "A" if the exam is long or if it is short. If a student is going to get a "C", they will get that whether the exam is long or short. What I do is keep them as short as I can, because it makes the grading so much less arduous. I make sure I ask a good sampling of the questions from the material to get a good comprehension indicator. It isn't necessary to ask every possible question to get a good measure. Just make it long enough to get a good sampling. It'll give you the same percentage score either way, so you may as well make it easy on yourself to grade it.

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  • 1 decade ago

    I would agree with the position of allowing an entire class period. it really does take some students longer than others. Besides sometimes it's hard to estimate how long a reasonable amount of time is to complete an exam. At times I think my students will finish with plenty of time to spare and I find the majority of them working up until the last few minutes.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Well, there is something we do have to remember and take into consideration...the learning ability of the children and their ability to cope with the stress of time limited courses. All children tend to learn at different degrees and stress levels. Take two students in the same grade and class. Child1 learns faster than Child2, but he freezes on his tests. Child2 doesn't freeze, but his inability to quickly comprehend what is in front of him becomes frustrating, so he loses his patience and just gives up and chooses any answer just to hurry and not look like he doesn't know anything, knowing there is a risk he will score low because of his inability to comprehend things as quickly as everyone else. We have just two of many different abilities of the children. Timed or not, I feel it should be up to the teacher not only how long to test the children, but to carefully consider which way to teach if not the whole class, but to at least consider how long to test those students as individuals. Does that make any sense without being long winded? Sorry if it was.

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  • 1 decade ago

    I always hated timed tests. I think they are very unfair. I was always nervous and thinking about the clock and I never did my best unless I just had it all memorized. Not too much extra creative answers there. Most importantly though, you should give a person time to think. Achievement is what it is and it is not limited to a clock. I vote no to that for sure!! :)

    Source(s): College Graduate and now--second grade teacher
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  • 1 decade ago

    Personally I finished all my standerdized tests in 5-20min and I scored in the 99th+ percentile so timed tests never bothered me. Maybe we should debate about that No Child Left Behind Law?

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Use the time limit of allowing them to use the entire class time.

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