Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Negotiable Formats

Unless the exam format is literally the standard or objective, the format of the exam or project should be negotiable.

Unless you can show me a standard from anywhere in the world that specifically outlines the ability to answer a multiple choice question as the learning outcome, why in the world would we ever provide children with no other format to exhibit their learning?

And yet how many quizzes, mid-terms, final exams, standardized tests, homework assignments, minor assignments or major projects invite children to negotiate their format?

The lack of legitimate answers to these questions tell us one thing: most assessment formats are less about the students and more about the system. Cui bono?

This is exactly why there is such a chasm between the idea of differentiated instruction and standardized assessment.

The paradox is enough to drive anyone to drink.


  1. The sad thing is, in my university module on education and psychology, answering multi-choice questions was part of the curriculum. How sad!

  2. My name is Sharon barrow and I am a secondary education and language arts student in Mobile Alabama. I used to think I liked multiple choice formats but I recently realized that I hate it. It semms students like it better than say short answer or fill in the blank because they don't have to think and it gives them a 25% chance at getting it right by guessing. In addition I think standarized tests are formatted that way because it is easier the push the paper through a programmed machine to score it than it is to actually grade it yourself.


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