1159 Testing Students

Peter and Jana discuss if tests are an effective way to evaluate students.


Peter: So we're both teaching at university and I was curious, Jana, what do you think about giving students homework?

Jana: Ah, that's a tricky one isn't it? Students usually don't like homework.

Peter: Yeah. Did you used to like homework as a student?

Jana: I can't remember but these days I kind of like homework as a student because it motivates me to study. I'm terrible at studying on my own so having homework helps me, makes me do something.

Peter: Right. No, I think I agree with you. I think homework is important in the sense that it prepares you for the next class or prepares you for the topic or the classes that are running so it also helps to, it prepares you, I think, and it actually can confirm stuff for you if you go over it again. So we call it homework but I think it's really just maybe preparation or...

Jana: Preparation or review or continuation of the class, isn't it?

Peter: Yeah. So maybe we agree that homework's important.

Jana: What about tests? Do you like tests?

Peter: Hmm, that's a big good question. I don't like tests as a learner and I don't like giving tests so much as a teacher but I think in some ways tests have some advantages that you can't get that informaton any other way. I'm not sure.

Jana: So why do we test? Is it to, why do we test, is it again to motivate students to study hard or to check their progress?

Peter: Yeah, I think we test because obviously there's a, we teach at an institution at university and they want grades for students so that students can say that they've passed or failed the course so I guess tests set, you know, sets some kind of standard there to make sure that everybody has more or less the same standard but in terms of actually learning stuff, does a test really make sure that you learn stuff? Do you think?

Jana: Don't know. When I was a student, I personally really hated big tests at the end of the semester.

Peter: Me too.

Jana: And especially speaking tests. We had a lot of oral exams and I found that extremely stressful. I would have preferred to have more smaller tests throughout the semester but I think it really depends on the learner's style, right?

Peter: Mmm.

Jana: Different people like different things so.

Peter: Yeah, I think it's kind of hard because I think most schools and across the world, you know, they run on tests like we've been taught. I don't know about you but I have had tests since I was in elementary school and when you get to university, you just assume that you will have tests anyway, don't you think?

Jana: That's right so maybe students would complain if we don't have any tests.

Peter: Mmm, I've had students that really said that they learnt, that's the only way they really study if they're forced to study for a test because you put that kind of limit for them there but I'm not sure that it's a really good way to remember stuff because a lot of students just cram a lot of information in their heads before...

Jana: Right.

Peter: ...the test night and then they forget it after the test.

Jana: It's a tricky one.

Learn Vocabulary from the lesson



I like homework because it motivates me to study.

When you 'motivate' someone to do something, you give them a reason or incentive to do it. Notice the following:

  1. The desire to move out of his parents' house will motivate him to save money.
  2. My teacher tries to motivate us to speak by giving us real life situations.

pass or fail


Students can say that they've passed or failed the course.

Passing something means you successfully completed it.  In many places, a passing grade is above 60%. When you fail at something, the score you get does not show that you understand the material.  This is usually a score below 60%. Notice the following:

  1. Once you pass this level on the game, you get to go to a bonus level.
  2. He has never failed an exam before.



The tests set a standard.

In this case, 'standard' refers to a set of guidelines or a basis for comparison. Notice the following:

  1. The standards at this company are low, but the work they do is cheap.
  2. We have very high standards, but we do want all of our students to achieve success.



I found that extremely stressful.

If something is 'extremely' stressful, it is very very stressful. Notice the following:

  1. You will easily see him because he is extremely tall.
  2. This is extremely warm weather for this time of year.



A lot of students just cram a lot of information into their heads.

Generally, 'cram' means to force a lot of something into a small space. Notice the following:

  1. Everything will fit in that closet, but you might have to cram it in a little bit.
  2. All his office supplies are just crammed in his desk.  There is no order to anything.


Answer the following questions about the interview.

Keep Listening

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Vocabulary Challenge

Complete the sentences with the words below.
motivated • passed • standards
extremely • cram
  1. The roads are very icy today, so make sure to drive carefully.
  2. She her driving test the first time she took it.
  3. She is getting married in the fall, so she is very to lose a little weight.
  4. This is not the type of test that you can just a lot of information into your brain and do well.
  5. She is a very serious student and has high for herself.