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"more Testing, More Learning" Patrick O’malley Critique

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"more Testing, More Learning" Patrick O’malley Critique

According to Patrick O’Malley’s “More Testing, More Learning”, the problem is that professors normally give less frequent exams that are counted the most against a student’s grade. One of the effects he mentioned was that less frequent exams causes unnecessary amounts of stress on the student. Another one of the effects is that they don’t encourage frequent study as well as fails to inspire students’ best performance. O’Malley suggests that professors should give more frequent short exams to students. However, there are some objections to this suggestion. One is that such exams take up too much limited class time available to cover material in the course. Another objection is that short exams take too much time for professors to read and grade. Therefore, O’Malley suggested several alternatives to these objections. One of the alternatives is that the school should implement a program that would improve study skills. His second alternative is that professors should provide frequent study questions for students to answer. His final alternative is that the professors should provide frequent study questions from which the exam questions will be selected or announcing possible exam topics at the beginning of the course. However, O’Malley rejects these alternatives. He concludes that he sees frequent as well as brief exams as the only way to improve students’ study habits and learning (352-355).

On the other hand, there are some weaknesses in O’Malley’s argument towards more frequent exams. For example, frequent tests and exams may not have the same effect on all students. He mentions that by giving more frequent tests, “Students learn more in the course and perform better on major exams, projects, and papers” (353). However, all students have different learning capabilities. By giving frequent exams, one student may excel while another student may struggle due to the frequency of the exams. Also, O’Malley points out, “Greater frequency in test taking means greater frequency in studying for tests” (353). Yet, this can not be applied to all students. It depends on the student and his or her decision on whether or not to study for tests. In addition, greater frequency in test taking may instead discourage students from studying. He also adds that, “Frequent exams would also decrease anxiety by reducing the procrastination that produces anxiety” (354). Some students might feel that an increase in the frequency of exams would actually cause an increase rather than a decrease of anxiety.

Furthermore, there are also a number of weaknesses in O’Malley’s alternatives. Particularly, his alternatives either contradict his argument, or hinder the actual learning process. For example, he points out that, “If weekly exams still seem too time-consuming to some professors, their frequency could be reduced to every other week” (354). By reducing the frequency of weekly exams, it contradicts his proposal of having more frequent exams. It also causes decreased efficiency in the time management of scheduling lessons as well as assignments within the course. In addition, O’Malley says, “Another possible solution would be to help students prepare for the midterm and final exams by providing sets of questions from

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