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Open book tests-what do you think? Help or hinder students?

Posted by on Apr. 22, 2014 at 10:07 PM
  • 15 Replies

Ok, so I just let me sons-7th grade and 5th grade, take an open book science test using the 6th grade Abeka curriculum.  I have wondered lately whether the benefit of using open book tests, occasionaly and depending on the subject, would be good for the boys. Here are some ideas I come up with. 

I will give zero help on open book tests and expect 100% correct-this will teach them to use a textbook and rely on themselves to come up with the answers. (yes, boys I do promise that the answers are in the book!)  Sometimes with my 5th grader I will have to get him on the right page to find the answer or he will be there all day. 

I have pondered a time limit and no time limit.

Is it really necessary to cram as many facts and or useful and useless info in their heads so they can pass a test and then forget it.

I expect my kids to get 80% or higher on all tests or they have to redo the chapter and test.

I had more thoughts on this but I have the stomach flu and can't focus at all.


by on Apr. 22, 2014 at 10:07 PM
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Replies (1-10):
KrissyKC
by Silver Member on Apr. 23, 2014 at 12:12 AM
I think open book tests are more like good study guides. The kid doesn't have to know the exact right answer to everything, but it shows if they are familiar with the book and proves if they are paying attention and doing their reading.

However, demanding 100% perfect scores and refusing to help at all is not so effective with my kids.

jen2150
by Silver Member on Apr. 23, 2014 at 7:33 AM
I had them in college and high school many times. I think they are critical skill to have. I think it depends on your objective for the test. Usually open book tests require more thought and detail. Essay tests are usually more likely to be open book tests.
bluerooffarm
by Gold Member on Apr. 23, 2014 at 7:51 AM
1 mom liked this

I don't agree with open book tests.  Whatever benefits come from open book tests can just as easily be achieved by teaching the student to take notes from the textbook or to make chapter outlines.  There are many more benefits from giving the student a notecard and allowing him to write down anything he wants on the card.  It teaches the student to choose the most important parts of the chapter which is a much better study help for teens than simply having an open book.

Expecting 100% on anything is simply setting some kids up for giving up.  Just my opinion.

No_Difference
by Silver Member on Apr. 23, 2014 at 8:24 AM

I can see both sides to it. Typically I won't give an open book test. I've put so much time into helping my oldest learn the material, and helping her form good study habits, that she should by the time we take the test, know it well enough to be able to test without the book. However, history is her absolute worst subject, and it does not matter how long she studies, how many times she attmepts to take notes, how many times I quiz her before hand with the exact test she is going to take at the end of the week...she will fail it. So then I started using open book tests for her on history, and she was passing with at least a C average on the majority of them... Most of the questions she was getting wrong at that point were questions she just read incorrectly, and she refuses to go back and check her work. She gets an hour for tests, so she had more than enough time.... (Did  mention history was her least favorite and worst subject?!)

Chasing3
by Bronze Member on Apr. 23, 2014 at 8:37 AM

i guess in general, I'd prefer an open book essay question test to the fill-in-the-bubble standardized test format.

if it's open-book for a multiple choice test - well, then that seems way too easy.

jen2150
by Silver Member on Apr. 23, 2014 at 9:28 AM
Note taking doesn't work for every situation. When I was taking American Lit in high school we had open book essay tests. We didn't know what the essay question was going to be exactly. We were given 3 possible questions. We had 50 minutes to write as much as possible. The average was about 3-5 pages. I failed my first test and aced all the ones that came after. It helped essay to be strongest asset in college. There is a great benefit to being to form a thesis quickly and give it as many supporting facts as possible. In life, it is just as important to be able to find info quickly as being able to remember it all. Every field requires people to look up necessary info.

Just saying my perspective and experience. I think there is a great benefit from open book tests. Being able to look up info quickly is essential in life.

Quoting bluerooffarm:

I don't agree with open book tests.  Whatever benefits come from open book tests can just as easily be achieved by teaching the student to take notes from the textbook or to make chapter outlines.  There are many more benefits from giving the student a notecard and allowing him to write down anything he wants on the card.  It teaches the student to choose the most important parts of the chapter which is a much better study help for teens than simply having an open book.

Expecting 100% on anything is simply setting some kids up for giving up.  Just my opinion.

bluerooffarm
by Gold Member on Apr. 23, 2014 at 9:51 AM

First, she asked about science tests, not essays.  Second, there were also better ways of teaching how to use literature to form a thesis and write an essay than an open-book test, as time limits greatly limit creativity.  The research in education shows that open-book tests do not teach the things that most people want them to teach.... quick research skills (it actually is detrimental to research skills according to the research), learning to skim ( is better learned by learning to outline), and it is totally unhelpful for learning material (research suggests that the loss level in open-book testing is nearly 100%).


Quoting jen2150: Note taking doesn't work for every situation. When I was taking American Lit in high school we had open book essay tests. We didn't know what the essay question was going to be exactly. We were given 3 possible questions. We had 50 minutes to write as much as possible. The average was about 3-5 pages. I failed my first test and aced all the ones that came after. It helped essay to be strongest asset in college. There is a great benefit to being to form a thesis quickly and give it as many supporting facts as possible. In life, it is just as important to be able to find info quickly as being able to remember it all. Every field requires people to look up necessary info. Just saying my perspective and experience. I think there is a great benefit from open book tests. Being able to look up info quickly is essential in life.
Quoting bluerooffarm:

I don't agree with open book tests.  Whatever benefits come from open book tests can just as easily be achieved by teaching the student to take notes from the textbook or to make chapter outlines.  There are many more benefits from giving the student a notecard and allowing him to write down anything he wants on the card.  It teaches the student to choose the most important parts of the chapter which is a much better study help for teens than simply having an open book.

Expecting 100% on anything is simply setting some kids up for giving up.  Just my opinion.


jen2150
by Silver Member on Apr. 23, 2014 at 10:15 AM
I was just sharing my experience. Open book tests actually did the opposite for me. I had to learn how to take them. They greatly increased my essay writing skills. I don't put much stock in studies in general. I was merely speaking of essay tests in general. Science can also involve essay ad well. I see the benefit of both types of tests. I hope you were not offended by my response because that wasn't intent. I was just trying to share how they have helped me taking tests in college. Have a great day!


Quoting bluerooffarm:

First, she asked about science tests, not essays.  Second, there were also better ways of teaching how to use literature to form a thesis and write an essay than an open-book test, as time limits greatly limit creativity.  The research in education shows that open-book tests do not teach the things that most people want them to teach.... quick research skills (it actually is detrimental to research skills according to the research), learning to skim ( is better learned by learning to outline), and it is totally unhelpful for learning material (research suggests that the loss level in open-book testing is nearly 100%).

Quoting jen2150: Note taking doesn't work for every situation. When I was taking American Lit in high school we had open book essay tests. We didn't know what the essay question was going to be exactly. We were given 3 possible questions. We had 50 minutes to write as much as possible. The average was about 3-5 pages. I failed my first test and aced all the ones that came after. It helped essay to be strongest asset in college. There is a great benefit to being to form a thesis quickly and give it as many supporting facts as possible. In life, it is just as important to be able to find info quickly as being able to remember it all. Every field requires people to look up necessary info.

Just saying my perspective and experience. I think there is a great benefit from open book tests. Being able to look up info quickly is essential in life.

Quoting bluerooffarm:

I don't agree with open book tests.  Whatever benefits come from open book tests can just as easily be achieved by teaching the student to take notes from the textbook or to make chapter outlines.  There are many more benefits from giving the student a notecard and allowing him to write down anything he wants on the card.  It teaches the student to choose the most important parts of the chapter which is a much better study help for teens than simply having an open book.

Expecting 100% on anything is simply setting some kids up for giving up.  Just my opinion.

bluerooffarm
by Gold Member on Apr. 23, 2014 at 10:26 AM

No offense taken at all.  It's just that most people do not have that experience.

Quoting jen2150: I was just sharing my experience. Open book tests actually did the opposite for me. I had to learn how to take them. They greatly increased my essay writing skills. I don't put much stock in studies in general. I was merely speaking of essay tests in general. Science can also involve essay ad well. I see the benefit of both types of tests. I hope you were not offended by my response because that wasn't intent. I was just trying to share how they have helped me taking tests in college. Have a great day!
Quoting bluerooffarm:

First, she asked about science tests, not essays.  Second, there were also better ways of teaching how to use literature to form a thesis and write an essay than an open-book test, as time limits greatly limit creativity.  The research in education shows that open-book tests do not teach the things that most people want them to teach.... quick research skills (it actually is detrimental to research skills according to the research), learning to skim ( is better learned by learning to outline), and it is totally unhelpful for learning material (research suggests that the loss level in open-book testing is nearly 100%).

Quoting jen2150: Note taking doesn't work for every situation. When I was taking American Lit in high school we had open book essay tests. We didn't know what the essay question was going to be exactly. We were given 3 possible questions. We had 50 minutes to write as much as possible. The average was about 3-5 pages. I failed my first test and aced all the ones that came after. It helped essay to be strongest asset in college. There is a great benefit to being to form a thesis quickly and give it as many supporting facts as possible. In life, it is just as important to be able to find info quickly as being able to remember it all. Every field requires people to look up necessary info. Just saying my perspective and experience. I think there is a great benefit from open book tests. Being able to look up info quickly is essential in life.
Quoting bluerooffarm:

I don't agree with open book tests.  Whatever benefits come from open book tests can just as easily be achieved by teaching the student to take notes from the textbook or to make chapter outlines.  There are many more benefits from giving the student a notecard and allowing him to write down anything he wants on the card.  It teaches the student to choose the most important parts of the chapter which is a much better study help for teens than simply having an open book.

Expecting 100% on anything is simply setting some kids up for giving up.  Just my opinion.


mem82
by Platinum Member on Apr. 23, 2014 at 10:38 AM

I agree with jen2150 as far as certain subjects go. 8) Open book and/or essay tests are essential for learning certain skill sets. Many college level courses are open book, essay style.It's better to learn SEVERAL ways of doing testing so that when they reach university level they are prepared for anything.

As far as the original question, I think that I would never use open book tests in Math and not with most Science. Some things need to be learned completely, like multiplication tables. Other things, I think, aren't as important to actually have facts memorized. Sometimes, just having a good overview and understanding is all that is needed. 8)

Quoting bluerooffarm:

No offense taken at all.  It's just that most people do not have that experience.

Quoting jen2150: I was just sharing my experience. Open book tests actually did the opposite for me. I had to learn how to take them. They greatly increased my essay writing skills. I don't put much stock in studies in general. I was merely speaking of essay tests in general. Science can also involve essay ad well. I see the benefit of both types of tests. I hope you were not offended by my response because that wasn't intent. I was just trying to share how they have helped me taking tests in college. Have a great day!
Quoting bluerooffarm:

First, she asked about science tests, not essays.  Second, there were also better ways of teaching how to use literature to form a thesis and write an essay than an open-book test, as time limits greatly limit creativity.  The research in education shows that open-book tests do not teach the things that most people want them to teach.... quick research skills (it actually is detrimental to research skills according to the research), learning to skim ( is better learned by learning to outline), and it is totally unhelpful for learning material (research suggests that the loss level in open-book testing is nearly 100%).

Quoting jen2150: Note taking doesn't work for every situation. When I was taking American Lit in high school we had open book essay tests. We didn't know what the essay question was going to be exactly. We were given 3 possible questions. We had 50 minutes to write as much as possible. The average was about 3-5 pages. I failed my first test and aced all the ones that came after. It helped essay to be strongest asset in college. There is a great benefit to being to form a thesis quickly and give it as many supporting facts as possible. In life, it is just as important to be able to find info quickly as being able to remember it all. Every field requires people to look up necessary info. Just saying my perspective and experience. I think there is a great benefit from open book tests. Being able to look up info quickly is essential in life.
Quoting bluerooffarm:

I don't agree with open book tests.  Whatever benefits come from open book tests can just as easily be achieved by teaching the student to take notes from the textbook or to make chapter outlines.  There are many more benefits from giving the student a notecard and allowing him to write down anything he wants on the card.  It teaches the student to choose the most important parts of the chapter which is a much better study help for teens than simply having an open book.

Expecting 100% on anything is simply setting some kids up for giving up.  Just my opinion.


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