Measuring students’ achievements is a tricky business. It is weird to observe how children who usually do quite well in classes score rather low in regular tests. Cheating and reading from the books seem obvious, but an experienced teacher will notice that something is wrong. Either with children or with the current method of testing their knowledge.
It appears that a written test can effectively estimate students’ stress resistance and their ability to cram the material by heart. As they try to prevent cheating, teachers usually give little time to complete the test. Students are required to answer the questions in a blink, which already indicates that they are not really thinking at the moment. If a student has a panic attack or cannot remember the precise piece of material, they inevitably fail even though they may have a good analytical thinking.
Tests of academic achievements are developed to check some narrow part of students’ knowledge. The task may require to analyze or calculate things, but in most cases, students have to recall memorized information or guess which answer is the correct one. For some subjects, written tests are appropriate, for the others they are not. And teachers shall not make tests whenever they cannot invent a better way to check students’ performance.