” . . . one of them . . . asked him a question, to test him.” (Matthew 22:35)

There’s nothing wrong with testing someone (where my teachers at?!). Testing a student is a gesture or care, sounding out what she has learned and still needs to master. Even testing an adversary can be virtuous. How else do we measure our own skill and knowledge against our peers? Indeed, we should welcome our opponent’s challenge as a chance to get better.

Testing a person isn’t the problem. Testing him for some other purpose is, like to embarrass him or to elevate yourself. When a candidate in a debate tests her opponent’s facility with the names of foreign leaders, she’s not doing it for the opponent’s improvement, but rather to expose what she knows already to be a flaw.

Ask this about the tests you give and the tests you take on: who is this really for?

2 thoughts on “Tests

  1. As a career educator, I want to weigh in a little bit. A happy teacher is one whose students ALL do well on tests…. Achievement testing should not be competitive but an indication of mastery. What has each individual learned so far and what still needs to be learned.

  2. Sometimes, testing someone can be a way to help them. When I worked as a tour guide, I had to finish the tour in one hour because someone who relieved me was expected somewhere else. It’s a long story. But in that hour, I needed to know what my groups wanted to learn. The best way forward was to test them — to find out what they already knew, so that I didn’t waste time on that, and then what they wanted to know, so I could concentrate on those things.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s