Ever since the outbreak of COVID-19, students all around the world have been obliged to stay at home which has caused students to miss out on parts of their school life. Students are unable to play sports, perform musicals and make memories with friends. However most importantly, students have been forced to adapt to the pandemic by using online video conference services such as Zoom and Google Meet for remote learning.
By converting to online school, not only have students been forced to listen to lectures and participate in class online, but they have also been forced to take tests online. Different opinions arose with the introduction of online tests. While students claim that it has allowed them to take tests comfortably at home, teachers argue that it has only induced cheating. To listen to both sides, I decided to carry out an interview with a student and a teacher.
First, I decided to interview Annabelle Jeong, a 10th grade student attending KIS (Korean International School). Surprisingly, when asked whether she preferred taking tests online or offline, she said that she “didn’t mind”. She reasoned that there were both pros and cons to taking tests online and the major difference was the presence of teachers.
|[Interviewing Annabelle Jeong through Google Meet. Photo credit: author]|
She explained that “The presence of teachers is a huge difference. Although teachers may not intentionally do so, their presence does sometimes make students feel extra nervous. Although at first online testing was easier since teachers weren’t physically there, we later had to use two recording devices which allowed teachers to keep an eye on the students.” She claimed that now with the pressure of teachers watching students while they take their tests, it is basically the same as taking tests offline and thus she does not have a preference.However, Annabelle did mention that online testing was unfair as students could cheat while taking their test. She said, “I heard that many people cheated on their tests by searching the answers on the internet. Even though we have two recording devices for supervision, this does not apply for all subjects, so cheating is still prevalent in our school.”
Through my interview with Annabelle, I was able to conclude that although some measures have been taken to ensure that students have a similar test taking environment at home, there were still students who took advantage of online tests and have committed acts of academic dishonesty.
To understand another perspective on online testing, I decided to interview Matthew Schrader, a Chemistry and Physics teacher at KIS. When asked about the reliability of online testing, he stated that “It can be reliable, but it is not the best way to evaluate students’ academic progress. Teachers would prefer to have students take tests at school.” When asked why, he explained that this was due to the possibility of cheating.
|[Interviewing Matthew Schrader through Zoom. Photo Credit: author]|
However, he asserted that cheating would soon no longer happen as “Teachers are working hard to create tests that focus more on applying knowledge instead of tests that require specific answers.” He strongly discouraged cheating as it “does not benefit anyone. It only causes students to miss out on receiving feedback and thus they will not be able to improve”
Although online testing is controversial due to certain dishonest students, this issue will soon be solved as new types of tests are being devised. These tests will require creative thinking and application of knowledge, and therefore students will not be able to find the answers from an external source. Until then, students should always be conscientious while taking tests online and teachers must keep an eye out!
Korean International School
Julie Lee firstname.lastname@example.org
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