Pros and problems of partner tests

Mackenzie Beck, Staff Writer

In the last couple years, collaborative and group tests have gained popularity among high school teachers. Instead of students taking their own tests or quizzes, teachers are producing the option of collaborating with a randomly selected partner or group. “I agree with partner quizzes because of the conversations. It is a great way to get students to engage in the material and have meaningful conversations about what they are learning,” math teacher Adam Retzlaff said. “When students start to verbalize their thoughts, it makes it clear that they really do understand the material and then can better prepare for the test.”

Although learning with a partner can be a success, that is not the case if you are stuck doing all the work. There are students who choose to avoid work, as they know that it will get done by someone who is wanting a good grade. That then puts ample amounts of stress on the responsible student who cares about their grades and overall education. “You are doing your work and they are doing theirs, people work and learn differently so that could effect the overall grade,” Alex Perez ’19 said. “If teachers would grade tests separately, it could be beneficial if you have a partner to help each other with the things that you don’t know. It just depends who you get paired with, it can be stressful if you are with someone who does not know what they are doing.”

In theory, this learning style could work. Students could combine their knowledge on the subject to cover all criteria, but today’s reality is that many students do not take partner tests and quizzes seriously, whether it is that they mess around and get no work done, or that they can not figure out a way to collaborate together. If partner and group tests were to be given, it would be appropriate and most effective to let students have the choice on if they would like to collaborate on a quiz or not. “I’ve been toying with the idea of letting students choose if they want to work with a partner or not, but at the same time I think it is important for students to spend time talking to one another, there is value in it,” Retzlaff said.

Some students could benefit from it, they could get that extra help they need. Contrary to that, some students would prefer to test by themselves if they are confident in their knowledge and don’t want to take time to stoop down to another classmates education level to reteach what they already know.