The reason for most students’ anxiety over exams is that they never know what they’ll gonna get, just like picking from a box of chocolate. They can wrack their brains out, burn the midnight candle over memorizing terms, formula, procedures and what nots, but they will still be groping in the dark as to what the test contains. It may have a lot of questions on areas one failed to review about, it may have essay questions which non-writer students dread, it may have trick questions, it may have complicated problems that needed to be solved, and so on and so forth. And the students’ agony persists.
But if assessments questions are given way before the evaluation day, if students know what the teacher expects, what criteria s/he will use to judge the answers, if students are given sample answers with good quality, if the teacher gives meaningful feedbacks and there are opportunities for error correction, then students will no longer grope in the dark. Conversely, they are enlightened and empowered to accomplish assessment tasks with a clear vision of their goal, high grades. Students’ anxieties, then, goes out of the window.
Are all these ifs possible, you may ask then. The answer is a resounding yes. Alternative assessments provide for all these accommodations for students. But won’t these accommodations make students lazy? Not quite. You see, with each convenience given, much is expected from the students. Just like Spidermans famous quote, “with every power comes great responsibility”. Since every possible factor has been thrown in to help students generate exemplary performances, it is expected that students will deliver exceptional outputs.
Oops, anxiety might just have re-entered through the door. But the good part is, students who welcome challenges, who accepts responsibilities, who do not procrastinate (in other words, good students), will benefit from this type of assessment. So anxiousness only settles in on those who are of the opposite type of students. Traditional or alternative assessments, they will be anxious.
Now where is the fun part in alternative assessments? Here goes. Alternative assessments may be assigned as a groupwork. Classmates team up to collaborate ideas and create an end product for submission. And almost always, they incorporate their childish behaviors during team meetings. Generating ideas is usually done over giggling, teasing, and so much junk food around. Isn’t that fun? Plus, social interaction attitudes are developed, not to mention that they end up as good teamplayers, a very positive attribute. Now that is fun!