Tests are built as a system to test a students knowledge on a subject. Whenever a student is being texted on their knowledge with, say, an essay, they're allowed to use books or other references as assistance. In the real world, you can google pretty much everything, and you have knowledge everywhere. So how exactly is a test helping us? It's not helping our memory of a subject, studying is. All it does is stress a student out, and either lower their grades or raise their grades significantly.
I am a high school teacher, and the question I have to constantly ask, is what is it I want my students to learn? The book is almost a thousand pages long, and there is no way we can cover everything, and no way the student can memorize everything.
And the next question should be, just because it is in the book, should we be teaching it? How exactly is this information or data going to improve their future life after they graduate?
Some say that is if they can look it up, they have not learned it. I disagree. I doubt even the brightest student in my class can figure out how electron valences work in the time they have for a quiz. They might be able to check that their diagram of photosynthesis is correct, but you cannot learn photosynthesis during the assessment.
And if schooling is to prepare student for the "Real World", then open book is the way to go. As someone else pointed out, in the real world, we have access to the Internet and con look up virtually anything. If it can be looked up, why memorize it? Reference back to ensure you got it right, but rote memorization went out with the Internet.
One last comment. I do not allow open book assessments. I DO allow open note assessments. The logic being that the student must first review the material and the simple act of writing helps to learn and remember information. Personally, I think we need to rethink not only how we test in schools, but what we test. The world has seriously changed. Schools need to keep up.
Yes, an open book assessment still shows the student's capabilities. There is no way for a person to memorize everything and know everything there is to know on a particular subject, but there are always resources to find the correct answer that is needed. If the student knows this then he or she understands the subject.
In the old days people needed to have excellent ability to multiply in their heads because they didn't carry calculators everywhere with them. Today we have phones, calculators, the Internet and everything you can imagine in our pocket. The ability to access information and draw conclusions from it is more needed by our youth than the ability to recall facts.
Unless the question is a definition type question (what is the meaning of term "x"...Etc.) and especially if the said question requires the student to employ skills like logic, fact finding and correlation, an open book system can be better than pushing students to memorize clutter that they will almost certainly never need in real life.
The education system should be teaching the "intermediary" skills (such as employing logic, using reason..Etc.) because the variables in any equation can change throughout the course of a person's life, but if you know the logic of the equation, you are more likely to solve "the problem".
(This is the speech i prepared, this contains some of the points mentioned above and some i thought of on my own.)
So lets begin with the basics, why do tests exist in the first place? Well the answer is pretty simple, Tests are to assess the students. But what exactly do we exactly assess in a test, is it the ability to memorize long paragraphs? Usually a test contains 70-80% theory part and 20-25% numerical question part ( which can easily be dealt with, if the student memorizes the formulas) and chances are very rare that a test contains application type questions which in my opinion assesses the student's intelligence.
And what is the point of memorizing? If schooling is to prepare student for the "Real World", then open book is the way to go. In the real world, we have access to the Internet and can look up virtually anything. If it can be looked up, why memorize it? The point of rote memorization went out with the Internet.
An open book assessment shows the student's capabilities. There is no way for a person to memorize everything and know everything there is to know on a particular subject, but there are always resources to find the correct answer that is needed. If the student knows this then he or she understands the subject.
Open book tests certainly helps the students with the theory questions, but when then paper pattern would change as well , then the teachers wont go easy on students while setting up the paper. More twisted questions and application based question would be involved. Which might actually assess the students on their intelligence.
Now lets go by the facts. Students have been surveyed and pretty much 10 out of 10 prefer open book exams. It has been stated that students have 5 main benefits for open book exams:
• Practice in creativity in the use of course content
• Course content proficiency
• Increased opportunity for self-evaluation and feed back
• Less exam stress
• Better self-regulation for content
A school test is not the same as say the SATs. Standardized tests like that test your ability to think, so having resources like formulas and stuff given to you are alright because its measuring your reasoning skills. However, class tests are meant to see if you've been paying attention to what's been taught up till that point in class. A well written test should be able to be solved by anyone who can understand the basic concepts behind the material.
Example: a chemistry test that asks you to figure out the bond diagram of a compound. Now, it is perfectly alright to expect to be given a periodic table or something to see what the number of valence electrons or something, but if you need to look up how a bond works and how sharing electrons works, you completely have failed to absorb the material.
An open book test allows children to get away with fundamental mistakes, but the purpose of tests is to show teachers whether or not students have that ingrained knowledge of the fundamentals. If they are allowed to slip by without going back to make sure they learn those important basics, it will only force them to fail far worse in higher learning because while they can always go back to look up what they didn't know, they don't understand it. Later on when a student needs to learn about hybridization, they won't know whats going on because they never understood what happens when atoms share electrons, so trying to visualize their orbitals combining won't be intuitive to the student.