Time, accuracy, speed, & precision

Her name was Mrs. Hughes.  I can still hear her:

F … F … J … J … F … F … J … J.

Time, accuracy, speed, and precision were ultimately important in the typing class I took my sophomore year of high school.  I am glad that I touch type.  At typingtest.com, you can assess your typing speed and accuracy.  Here are my latest results:

There are plenty of people that do not touch type, some hunt-and-peck.  Is their work some how diminished because they may need more time than a touch typist?  If not witnessing the time and effort, would the reader of the product even know whether the author was speedy or not?

Are accuracy and precision when typing more important than speed and time?  Wouldn’t it be better to take more time and have an accurate product than to be quick with errors?

This has me thinking about assessment, testing, and time.  In a perfect world, we want both speed and accuracy.  What if we can’t have both?  What if a learner needs more time to demonstrate what they know?  Do we really expect all children to perform and produce at the same speed?  Are we sacrificing accuracy and precision for the sake of time?  Should it be the other way around? Are we assessing what our learners know and can show or how fast they can think and work?

How important is it to complete an assessment
within a fixed, pre-determined period of time?

How might we offer learners more time to demonstrate what they know and have learned?

Time is the variable; learning is the constant.


Empathy: Testing and being tested

We regularly test our learners’ progress. How might we “walk in our learners’ shoes?”

On our last professional development day, our faculty participated in  the WayFind Teacher Assessment for Effective 21st Century Teachers, designed by learning.com.  It was a great lesson in empathy.  There were varied reactions (as you can imagine) from my friends and colleagues about the test and being tested.  I wonder how many of our student-learners feel the same when tested in class.

While clearly described as a diagnostic assessment by our co-Deans of IT, several of us experienced angst and stress about being tested.  I wonder how our students deal with this stress from 7 courses each requiring 4-7 tests per semester that are summative rather than diagnostic.  How often have I dismissed the nervousness of a student when they seek reassurance from me before a test?  (Shame on me!)

The WayFind Assessment was given on the computer.  How many of us wanted and expected immediate feedback?  It was given on the computer; why didn’t I get my results when I pressed submit?  I remember how irritated I have been with the children when they have circled back after lunch and asked if I have graded their papers.  Really?  I just gave the test before lunch.  When would I have had time to grade them?  We wanted to know our results because we were interested in the outcome.  We wanted to verify and see the results of our success.  Isn’t that what every learner wants?

Perhaps the most important of all the questions asked by faculty:  Can I have a second chance to take the assessment?  It was said to me at least a half a dozen times.  As soon as I turned it in, I knew more answers! I would do better the next time.

It is tough to walk in our learners’ shoes. So, what should be learned?

I have the results from my WayFind assessment.  I know where I stand according to the WayFind results.  What other lessons are to be learned from this experience?

I wonder if I (we) will learn the additional and perhaps more important lessons from the experience.


Following Quantum Progress‘s good example, I’m including my WayFind Assessment results below.