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Examinations in the United States

    Abstract

    EXAMINATION, as a teacher's tool, has undergone remarkable modification in the past sixteen years in the United States. The search for an instrument of precision for the use of teachers in examining their pupils has engaged the ingenuity of a host of investigators, and the resultant devices, the true-false, the completion, the matching, the multiple-choice, the one-word, the problem and other objective-type tests have, to a large extent, supplanted the essay test. The United States Office of Education has recently issued a report (Bulletin 9/1936, Washington: Supt. of Documents. 10 cents) on testing practices of secondary school teachers of 1,600 schools, as described by themselves. It appears that, when constructing tests, about seventy-four per cent of them make use principally of the objective type, only sixteen per cent rely chiefly on the essay test and ten per cent make equal use of both. The report shows that the new style of tests is popular with teachers. Their simplicity appeals to them. But it is clear that their employment calls for watchful control. A principal advantage claimed for them—that a large number of items can be answered in a short time and the subject-matter can thus be the more thoroughly sampled—has been unrealized in many cases through not using a sufficient number of questions. Of intelligence tests, the report says that few teachers really use the results.

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