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KINDS OF EXAMINATIONS By DANIEL HANNON, Department of Education, Chicago Normal College EVERAL uses or purposes of exam- of ability are called for. A child disinations were discussed in the tinctly lacking in one of them may make
CHICAGO SCHOOLS JOURNAL last a poor score in the examination. month. With the purposes pointed out, it Another feature that may cause diffimight be well to take up next the various culty in the essay type examination is that kinds of examinations now in use. of giving credit to pupils' answers. Sev
Probably the best known form of the eral important experiments have shown examination is what is sometimes called that teachers disagree seriously in giving the essay or free-answer type. Questions credit marks on essay examination papers. are prepared by the teacher on the subject- Even in mathematics examinations, matter studied for a month or term, and where there is less likely to be a difference pupils write out their answers to the ques- of opinion as to the correct answers than tions in accordance with the knowledge in most subjects, this disagreement has they have. Such questions often call only been noted. Even the teacher who did for information, but they sometimes re- the original scoring, on rescoring a set of quire pupils to state cause and effect or such examination papers after laying them other relationships, or to describe condi- aside for several weeks, finds that she will tions, explain situations, etc.
not agree with her first estimate of scores. The following questions are typical of Teachers who keep these two difficulthe essay type of examination:
ties of the essay examination in mind may, 1. Give causes for the arid belt east of by care in preparation of the questions, the Rocky Mountains.
offset them to some extent. First, the State reasons why Chicago became questions may avoid vagueness of meana great city.
ing by calling for definite points, even a 3. Why has southern New England definite number of points. Question i become a great industrial region?
in the preceding list of questions might be 4. What are leading products of the made to read “Give three important causes North Central States ?
for the arid belt east of the Rocky MounThese questions are confined to the field tains.” Question 4 might be recast as of geography, but illustrate fairly well the “Give a list of eight (or more) leading nature of such questions.
products of the North Central States." In contrast with certain other forms of Secondly, teachers can improve scoring the examination to be discussed further on methods by writing out a set of answers to in this article, the essay type examination the questions before the examination is has certain features or qualities that may given. This procedure may reveal faulty cause difficulty. In the questions given questions and lead to revision, and it cerabove, for example, the pupil would be re- tainly should provide a fairly definite quired first to interpret the questions or standard for scoring pupils' answers. try to find out what they mean. Next, he Several new forms of the written exammust recall and perhaps otherwise organ- ination have made their appearance in the ize his information and then write it out last few years and are becoming more or in such a manner that the questions are less familiar to a great many teachers. answered in a way acceptable to the Their origin may be traced to the various teacher. If time permits he ought to group intelligence tests and standard tests criticize his own effort and revise it. It in the different school subjects. These new will be noticed that several different kinds examinations have names intended to be
descriptive of them. Probably the best a. The hatred of the Indian allies of known is the true false or right-wrong the French for the English settlers. test in which a number of statements pre- b. The desire of the English for westpared by the teacher are submitted for the
ern, land. pupils to mark. A few sample statements The determination of the French follow:
to confine the English to the Atlantic sea1. Magellan sailed west to reach the board. . east.
d. The growing power and commercial Sir Walter Raleigh planted the first importance of England. English colony in America.
e. The national rivalry of the English 3. The French Huguenots settled in and French nations. the St. Lawrence River valley.
Probably the third in the list of anThese three items serve to illustrate the swers given could be selected as the best examinations. The statements, of course, answer to the question implied in the can be made for almost any school main statement. Since the other answers subject.
given might be selected, the test of the Another form of the new examination is pupil here is selecting the best statement the multiple choice type in which several in the list. statements about a fact are given, only The completion test, sometimes also one of which is correct. The test of the called the mutilated sentence form, is anpupil's knowledge is in his selection of the other of the new-type examinations
. correct statement. For example:
Most teachers are familiar with a form of 1. The thermometer is an instrument this test in which pupils fill in omitted for showing
words in a list of sentences. The followa. Air pressure.
ing examples will illustrate the form: b. Wind velocity.
...and.... are necessary c. Temperature.
to the germination of seeds.
uses of wood:
The test feature in the completion form b. Storms.
is in the selection of terms to put in the c. Presence of moisture in the air.
blank spaces so that the whole is a correct d. Inequalities in the land surface. statement. In the first form above, these e. The volume of the air above the terms would be “heat” and “moisture”; earth.
in the second, "fuel", "furniture making" The correct answer to the first state- “building”, and “implement manufacture ment would be that the thermometer is an would be acceptable answers. instrument for measuring temperature,
Still another form of the new-type exand to the second that winds are caused amination is that in which the pupil is by unequal heating of the earth's surface. asked to indicate which facts in two lists The test feature is that the pupils must belong together. The two lists are arsearch among the list of statements to find ranged in parallel vertical columns conand indicate the correct one.
venient for the pupil to study. The lists Another test similar in form to the one below are given as an illustration of this just discussed is that known as the best- form: answer choice form. The example below
Federal Reserve Bank will illustrate this type:
Act became law. The leading cause of the French and In- 2. 1907 Theodore Roosevels dian war was
State of Illinois inaugu- spelling papers are now scored.
erences are given in the order of value to 4. 1917 Covenant of League of the classroom teacher unfamiliar with the
Nations drawn up. more technical phases of the science of 5. 1919
Wireless communication education:
1. American History Teaching and The test of pupils' knowledge in this Testing—Stormzand, Martin James. Macorm is his success in bringing each event millan Company, 1926. A manual for nto relationship with the year in which it teachers. Excellent for seventh and eighth ook place. While the example given is grades and high school. oncerned only with historical events and 2. Improvement of the Written Examlates, the test form can easily be adapted ination-Ruch, G. M. Scott, Foresman o many other subjects in the curriculum. and Company, 1924. 1.80. Excellent, Even number facts in arithmetic might be but somewhat technical. rranged in this form for an interesting 3. Preparation and Use of New-Type
Examinations. Paterson, Donald G. World One fact to be noticed about the new- Book Company, 1925. $0.45. A manual. ype examination is the very definite Prepared for use of college teachers, but nswers or responses that pupils are will be helpful to teachers in the grades o make to the statements or questions. and high school. except in the completion form writing re- 4. The Present Status of Written Exuired of pupils is limited to writing a aminations and Suggestions for Their Imingle word or letter or underscoring. Provement—Bulletin No. 17, Bureau of Even the completion form limits pupil Educational Research, College of Educarriting to a very few words. This feature tion, University of Illinois 1923. $0.50. ; in marked contrast to the usual essay Deals with examinations in high schools, ype examination where pupils are re- but grade teachers will also get much help uired to do considerable writing.
from it. The scoring or marking of the two types 5. Written Examinations and Their f examinations stands out in contrast Improvement-Bulletin No. 9, Bureau of lso. The problem of scoring the essay Educational Research, College of Educaype papers has been pointed out above. tion, University of Illinois, 1922. $0.50. The objective nature of the results of the critical treatment of the written ew-type examinations is regarded as the examination. most important advantage in their use. 6. The New Examination-Ballard,
If statements are carefully prepared so Philip Bosworth. London, Hodder and hat only one correct response is possible, Stoughton, Ltd., 1924. $1.50. An unxamination papers can be rapidly and technical discussion, but from the standasily scored by the pupils in the class, as point of an English educator.
THE N. E. A. AS A FORMATIVE FORCE By FRANCIS G. BLAIR, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Illinois HIS National Education Association ally agreed that the earth was once in a
should be the national laboratory nebulous, gaseous condition; that through where every question relating to the eons of time, by cooling and condensation
, organization, administration, and instruc- a crust was formed. Then began the grea tion of the public school system should be cosmic battle between the forces of stratisubjected to the acid test, reduced to its fication and eruption. That battle is on toelements, recast and reshaped to meet the day. The great interior forces of the earth changing economic and social needs. It are overlaid by the weight of stratified rock should be the open forum for the freest and earth. On or above this stratifying and frankest discussion of every phase of crust rest the seas and the atmosphere. our wide flung program of American edu- The eruptive forces from within and the cation.
forces of wind and water from above are Thirty years ago I heard a series of lec- constantly at work, wearing, changing, tures by a Hindu doctor on the theory breaking down the stratification and reof vibrations and concentration. Accord- shaping into new forms, most of the time ing to this general theory the physical gently, but occasionally with great universe about us is the result of vibra- lence. tions. God's creative thought took the form This same sort of conflict between the of vibrations. These were arrested at dif- stratifying and reshaping forces is on in ferent rates. The lowest, crudest forms of every human situation. Governments matter represent vibratons made static at evolved through a great burst of patrioti a very low rate of vibration. Man's thought emotion and idealisms soon stratify into represents the highest rate. All the range forms of constitutions and laws and cu:between the loose earth and the vibrant toms. Quietly and gently, through edumind of man represents in this philosophy cation and due processes of law, sligh: different rates of vibration. Under the modifications are made. But sometimes name of concentration this Hindu doctor the eruptive force of a revolution is re brought forward the idea that as God quired to break up and recast these stratithrough His thought created the objective fying elements into new forms. Is not the world, He could, by rethinking, change same thing true of all religions? any of its forms, and as man's mind was
Certainly, no one can doubt that these just a little lower than that of the creative contending forces are at work in all sysmind, he could, through the power of con- tems of education. Our educational forecentration, change the forms of matter. fathers, with wonderful foresight
, with She cited a number of instances where exceptional constructive imagination
, co2Hindu doctors, highly trained in the ceived and launched our system of public power of concentration, had been able to education. In its very nature
, education change a baser metal like silver into a
is a process of rethinking all experience of finer metal like gold. As these lectures the past and reshaping it to meet present were given about the time that the “Great and future needs. It should always be a Commoner” was trying by legislative en- process of becoming. Of necessity in the actment in America to raise sixteen dollars several states, the school systems in silver to the value of one dollar in gold, initiated through constitutional and stathis particular point had a peculiar in- utory provisions. School boards were terest,
given the power to make rules and regu Whatever may be our reaction to this Hindu philosophy, we are pretty gener
*Delivered before the N. E. A. at Indianapha
lations. The conservatism of the human curriculums, courses of study, subjects of mind, the weight of tradition, the hand of instruction, are under constant review and the dead past, all joined to repress, overlay analysis, are constantly being reshaped and confine the free, active thought and and recast to meet the changing social spirit of education. All progress is con- and economical demands. In addition ditioned upon those forces which resist to the stratifying influence of fixing by this stratifying tendency, which tend to law the specific subjects which shall be break up and reshape these constitutions taught, we are now faced with a proposal and laws and rules insofar as they are to prohibit by law the teaching of certain found to incrust and obstruct the free de- subjects; a proposal which may close the velopment of our state systems of public door to free and open investigation of the instruction.
truth, and padlock that door with a statOne of the functions of this National ute. This Association must resist with all Education Association is to give vent to its power this attempt to put an iron band these eruptive, reconstructive forces. Here around the growing tree of education. we bring combined, concentrated thought In the life of every teacher there must of the leaders of American education to be a constant struggle against these forces bear upon these lower lifeless forms to of stratification.
of stratification. I am one who believes raise them to higher and more effective that there is much of value in the past. media for educational expression, to break I believe that every good idea, every good up the stratification into the original plas- emotion, every worth-while thought of the tic elements; in brief, to reduce the educa- past is just as living and vital today as tional earth and rocks back to the
the it was at the time it was felt or conceived, nebulous and gaseous condition. Some of unless that idea has become incrusted or the enemies of this Association who are overlaid by some sort of stratification disposed to think that it is too nebulous which robs it of its life and vitality. This and too gaseous, misunderstand its main eruptive, reconstructive process within the purpose. Here the systems of public edu- individual, within the institution, is not a cation are in the puddling pot. Here they mere protest against the past. It certainly are in the state of flux and flow. Out in is not an avowal of a loss of faith in what the districts where something must be has gone before. It is simply the struggle done every hour in the day, respect for of the human soul to have life, and that tradition, for the past, for established rule
more abundantly. Every teacher, within and method, must obtain. Here we can her classroom, in her community, with her give ourselves over to the wreckless pas- daily round of duty, is constantly in dantime of educational gods tearing down ger of lowering the rate of her professional and rebuilding the educational worlds. vibration and suffering stratification and
This stratifying tendency is seen clearly consequent_limitation of power and in the subjects of instruction. How often progress. Every influence that helps the through the ages has the human mind teacher to keep her windows open towards allowed itself to be incrusted and overlaid by the strata of conventional forms of sub- the stars, to keep her ideas and ideals in ject-matter and programs of study? How
the process of becoming, helps to create valiantly, though often unsuccessfully, the and maintain a living, growing educaeruptive, transforming forces have strug- tional opportunity for the youth of the gled to shake from the living body of edu- Republic. This Association, whose memcation this dead body of meaningless
meaningless bership represents teachers, research form? Here is this Association—through workers, thinkers, philosophers in every committee work and department investi- field of public education, furnishes the gation, through debate and discussion- greatest of all workshops for reshaping,