EDUCATION TALK with TIMOTHY KAMBILIMA
IT IS unfortunate that a good number of pupils at secondary school level look at testing as an enemy.
Most teachers will agree with me that each time an announcement is made that there is a test most pupils will receive the news with disapproval.
Our pupils regard any test administered to them as punishment, and they even go to an extent of wrongly complaining to friends that â€œour teacher is giving us tests every month.â€
It is also common to see pupils feigning all sorts of illness, or simply giving lame excuses just to avoid being tested by the teacher.
Well, there are various factors that make testing important in a school situation. Parents with school-going children, including pupils reading this article, should spread the â€˜goodâ€™ news to others out there on why teachers decide to give either weekly, fortnightly, monthly or termly tests to pupils in our schools.
In the first place, teaching is a process which facilitates learning.
On the other hand, learning is a mental process, which results in the acquisition of knowledge.
Here, the teacher is said to be actively teaching if he/she explains, demonstrates, tests and interacts with the pupils.
In secondary schools, the common test is called achievement or performance test. This test determines how much the pupils have covered or learned.
It is also vital to note that teachers use tests to evaluate their performance and see where they can adjust for the sake of the same learner who wants to run away from being examined by the teacher.
Testing is important in a school because it helps teachers and the pupils to determine how much they have taught and learnt, respectively.
It is because of the teacher trying to find the areas of difficulty in order to take corrective measures that tests are administered in school.
A teacher who fails to administer any test to the pupil is doing a disservice to the child. Similarly, a pupil who keeps away from tests is also doing himself or herself a disservice.
Apart from what has been said earlier, testing is important because it helps motivate the boys and girls to learn more.
Under normal circumstances, when the date of either a weekly or monthly test is announced by the subject teacher, serious pupils will prepare adequately in order for them to pass with flying colours.
It also encourages those who perform below par to study hard for them to pass the next test.
Testing also encourages positive competition in class or school as pupils will strive to outdo one another and in the end, the fighting spirit will even repeat itself in the national examinations at the end of the year.
Further, testing gives teachers the opportunity to report to parents their childrenâ€™s progress.
We have serious parents who donâ€™t wait for open days to check on their childrenâ€™s performance, hence through class tests, the subject teachers will be in a better position to report correctly because teachers cannot rely on class exercises.
In addition, administering of tests helps the teacher predict the performance of pupils in future.
By giving tests, the teacher will be able to know if a pupil will pass the final examinations or not.
At school level, the school management, in collaboration with subject teachers, will be able to compare the performance of pupils in different classes.
This will enhance the quality of teaching and learning as classes will be competing to outdo one another academically.
Teachers are stimulated through giving tests as they enable them to clarify and refine the course objectives within the academic year.
Once this is done, teachers will be able to plan properly to meet the needs of various types of pupils.
Testing in schools helps the school authorities to cover up with evaluation and assessment tools, which will add value to the teaching and learning process.
Our pupils must be reminded that tests donâ€™t exist to torture them or give them extra work to do, but to help them improve.
Teachers want to know if the pupils are learning the skills and knowledge they should be learning and which ones are having trouble.
Every parent wants their children to leave school with the ability to earn a living, be good citizens and one day, run the world.
Therefore, schools have to prove they are doing a good job of educating their pupils, and one way of doing this is to have them take tests periodically.
It is, therefore, important for teachers and parents to inculcate the love and importance of tests in their pupils if examination results are to improve at all levels of the education system in Zambia.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org cell: 0972637485/0968537064
EDUCATION TALK with TIMOTHY KAMBILIMA