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The Gilbert Muckraker

Column 1: Homework and Tests

The Gilbert Muckraker column brings out ideas on how to make Gilbert and the world a better place to learn and live. No column is ever finished. All are works in progress. It is up to you to point out what we have left out, what is wrong, or what shouldn't have been included. Anybody who wants to may contribute; however, this column remains without a byline because it should reflect the general common sense derived from our experiences and yours.

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Learning is an iterative process, each new step depending on the last. If students are denied the chance to know how they are doing, they will make the same mistakes again and again.

If people are to be fair as adults, they should be treated justly as children. Tests should be administered and corrected as objectively as possible. Prudent measures should be taken to limit grading error.

The next test should not be given before the previous one is returned.
The test given to students should indicate how many points there are in total and how many points each question is worth.
Material not discussed in class should not be on the test.
The key for a test should be created before the test is given.
Each part of an answer on the key should indicate how many points it is worth.
The key should be available to students after the tests have been corrected.
The corrected tests should be handed out and discussed during class.
Students should be given time to contest a test grade before it is permanently recorded.
Students should be able to keep their corrected tests to study from.
All homework should be discussed in class.
If possible, the teacher should have done the homework beforehand.
The corrected homework should be handed back.
The students should be given time to contest the homework corrections before a permanent grade is recorded.
Teachers should use a weighted average in figuring grades so that each homework point is worth significantly less than each test point.