Friday, October 08, 2004

Test Anxiety

I'm giving my first-ever midterm next week, and I am having my own form of test anxiety (I never had test anxiety as a student, by the way).

I find mysself wondering if the exam is too tough or too easy. It's hard to tell the difference. I didn't want my first exam to be the ridiculously tough "he's trying to prove himself" exam, but I also don't want to seem like a pushover.

But I'm committed now -- I just gave the exam to one of the department assistants for copying. So we'll see how it goes. It's just weird to be testing people on what they learned... from me. I still haven't come to grips with the authority aspects of this job.


At 8:32 PM, Blogger chutry said...

It's a weird feeling: I always feel like *I'm* being tested when I give students an exam. I know I've always learned a lot from writing and giving exams, and my students have generally surprised me for the best.

I've also started to embrace giving exams. They're a lot easier to grade than student papers.

At 7:16 AM, Blogger TerminalMFA said...

That's pretty much how I feel -- like I am being tested. I don't know, though, if I feel like the students are testing me, or that it's more from my colleagues -- a test of whether or not I am a good teacher.

At 9:15 AM, Blogger chutry said...

I usually don't think about in terms of the students "testing" me--I *never* thought on that meta-level as an undergrad. And in my case, my colleagues rarely see my tests (unless they are writing a recommendation letter for me or something like that), but there is certainly a sense that my colleagues will wonder just what I've been doing the last few months....

At 9:36 AM, Blogger TerminalMFA said...

Good point -- I never thought on that level as a student either. I guess I did evaluate some professors, especially ones I hadn't had before, by whether or not theeir tests were relevant and appropriate to the material. I always felt when I took an 'objective' test consisting of multiple guess and treu/false questions that the material itself was irrelevant and I was just being asked to memorize and parrot facts, most of which didn't pertain to anything I needed or wanted to know.

Conversely, the 'harder' essay-based tests always resonated with me, though I suppose in some ways I was just memorizing arguments and themes brought up by the professor in order to regurgitate those themes and arguments back on the test and thus get a high grade. In other words, I'm not sure I was that good at the material or reasoning; I think I was just VERY good at reading professors well.

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