Thursday, March 21, 2013

A Grade 2 Multiple Choice Quiz?

This multiple choice quiz was given to a grade 2 student in Ontario.

A lot of attention is focused on the contents of the second question:
B. You grow bigger each year because:
1. everyone grows up
2. you don't like being small.
3. you are queer.
Understandably, the teacher is catching heat for the use of the word 'queer'. Turns out this quiz was taken from an old textbook from a time when the traditional definition of the word (odd or strange) was more prevalent.

Today, the use of the word 'queer' certainly does raise some concerns.

Am I concerned that this quiz uses the word 'queer'? 

Yes. 

Do I have concerns in addition to the use of the word 'queer'?

Yes.

Here are a couple:
  • Why is a grade 2 student doing a multiple choice quiz? Is this developmentally appropriate?
  • What is the quality of the information this assessment gives us about a student's learning?
  • How helpful is the teacher's comment for the student?
  • How likely is it that a young child would find this activity engaging and inspiring?
  • What effect will this activity have on a student's desire to go on learning?
  • Are assessments like this more likely to encourage a passive or active learning environment?
It is healthy and important that we become outraged by the outrageous -- just keep in mind that the use of the word 'queer' is not the only thing outrageous here.

1 comment:

  1. I am a grade 2 teacher. I am very pleased to say that I have not given a single test, including spelling tests, this year. This is the first year I have eliminated testing from my teaching, and I have found that I have a better understanding of where my students are in their learning as the projects my students have completed in place of the tests have been far more informative than any test I can give. My students have also benefited as the feedback I provide helps them grow as learners, unlike a number on a piece of paper. I thank-you for talking about alternatives to testing as it has given me the confidence to challenge the status quo and give my students a better, more authentic learning experience.

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