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Reading checks fail to represent student effort

Reading+checks+are+given+to+test+students%27+abilities+in+recalling+information+from+an+assigned+text.+This+method%2C+however%2C+is+not+the+best+way+and+alternatives+such+as+class+discussions+or+debates+should+be+considered.+
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Reading checks fail to represent student effort

Reading checks are given to test students' abilities in recalling information from an assigned text. This method, however, is not the best way and alternatives such as class discussions or debates should be considered.

Reading checks are given to test students' abilities in recalling information from an assigned text. This method, however, is not the best way and alternatives such as class discussions or debates should be considered.

Annemarie Bonner

Reading checks are given to test students' abilities in recalling information from an assigned text. This method, however, is not the best way and alternatives such as class discussions or debates should be considered.

Annemarie Bonner

Annemarie Bonner

Reading checks are given to test students' abilities in recalling information from an assigned text. This method, however, is not the best way and alternatives such as class discussions or debates should be considered.

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As I sit with my assigned reading in front of me, I read meticulously chapter by chapter, word for word, taking in every detail said and every remark made. Yet, when it comes to an assessment on what I read, I fail to perform well and struggle to remember small, unimportant details.

Reading checks cause a nervousness within me, making me feel as though I haven’t tried hard enough.  They are meant to be a somewhat accurate representation of a student’s effort to read a specific text, but are they truly successful in doing so? The answer is no.  

As a student who tends to have little success on reading checks, I experience firsthand the difficulty that comes with taking these quizzes. I do not feel as if I should have to remember exact details that do not represent the larger portion of the text I worked hard to read.

It is also very disappointing when I read the entire section, but struggle to prove that I actually did, when my only chance to prove it is a single 30 question quiz. Teachers will think I didn’t read, and yet I put in the effort to read every single word.

There are other ways to assess a student’s effort, other than multiple choice quizzes. Alternatives include class discussions based on main events in the book, debates, creative assessments, or having students take notes. All of these give students a way to express their knowledge, give their opinions on the material, and clear up any uncertainty about the text.

In addition, students who don’t even read the novel and just consult summaries sometimes score higher than me, which can be frustrating and upsetting. One quiz score should not represent my capability to read, and therefore gives a false representation of me as a student.

Not only are reading checks frustrating and tedious, but they are unnecessary.  From personal experience, it is much more interesting to engage in class discussion than to sit down and answer multiple choice questions on details that are extremely specific.

If reading checks were omitted and fishbowl discussions, which are class discussions with a set amount of students discussing together in a small group, were implemented into the curriculum, then it is more likely poor test takers will succeed.  In fact, some teachers already provide this alternative.

Such class discussions provide a way for students to recall facts and details, but also incorporate their opinion. Rather than remembering details that are unimportant to the main idea of the book, students are able to in a way choose what to remember from their reading.

Another suggestion is to not have a quiz, but instead have students take notes and turn them into the teacher. This provides a tool for students to recall information, but also prove that they read.

Overall, reading checks are an inaccurate representation of one’s efforts to read, are too focused on small, unimportant details, and can easily be replaced for the benefit of student interest and success.

Annemarie Bonner is a Perspectives Editor for The Patriot and jcpatriot.com.

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Reading checks fail to represent student effort