Emma Bireline teaches various English and elective classes.
November 30, 2020
Using a variety of testing styles, English teacher Emma Bireline changes her method in accordance with the unit being taught. Units based around novels tend to have a combination of true-false, multiple-choice, and essay questions while her writing units are more essay-based. “It is just all dependent on what the specific objectives are for the unit.” Bireline finds assessments necessary as long as the teacher applied the knowledge gained from the data in order to “modify their teaching.” Bireline said, “If it’s just to put in a random grade then it’s stupid.” Her testing method has evolved over the years. “Teachers love to brag about how many kids are failing the class,” said Bireline, who was then led to believe that “the harder the class the better the teacher is.” “But then I realized that’s not true.”
If Bireline could change the testing system, she would “require teachers to present their objectives.” These objectives would then be used to measure a student’s learning and plan an ideal outcome. “Any test question on my assessments where 50% or more of the class gets it wrong, I take it out of the exam because that would probably indicate I didn’t do a good job of teaching it.” She believes that teachers should reteach data that students don’t seem to understand rather than trying to fail the entire class.
For her classes, Bireline uses an interactive notebook that students can refer to in order to see what their objectives are in order to prepare for the assessment. She also wants students to practice self-advocation. “If they feel like there’s a question on the exam that they didn’t learn, talk to the teacher about it.” The main issue Bireline sees students make is “believing that they don’t need to participate and attend classes to pass.” The notion that a student deserves an A simply by doing the assignment or test is also something that Bireline detests. “Students think that just because they completed something that it should be A quality, but A means you went above and beyond.”