Thursday, July 1, 2010

Timing Limits

Howard Gardner makes the case for rethinking time limits:

Valerie Strauss's blog The Answer Sheet has a wonderful post on the limitations of time constraints. Props to Valerie as she is a writer who truly gets education.
Few tasks in life--and very few tasks in scholarship--actually depend on being able to read passages or solve math problems rapidly....IIndeed, by eliminating the timed component, the College Board would signal that background knowledge, seriousness of purpose, and effort--not speed and glibness--are the essentials of good scholarship. And if, in the future, students were allowed to bring dictionaries, or even to have access to the Web, so much the better. Such a change would far more accurately duplicate the conditions under which serious individuals at any level of expertise actually do their work.


  1. I think that helping students understand that some tasks are under time constraints is a good thing. Even serious experts don't have unlimited time to do their work. And I would imagine that they became "serious experts" by taking tests or assessments without a dictionary or internet access. Telling students they don't have to "KNOW" stuff because it's online is a scary proposition.

  2. I don't think I disagree with anything you just said, but in school, only occasionally concerning ourselves with deadlines can't be said to be the norm.

    For the most part, deadlines and late marks are a big part of most classroom experiences.

    I would wager a bet that there are far more time examinations than those that are not timed.

  3. It seems strange to me that universities place value on superficial fast thinking ahead of deeper understanding and reflection as they do on the SATS

    A good test does not test facts or what you know , it tests your ability to 'manipulate ' the facts and present an argument or show your thinking. I was taught this when helping my kid - a second language english student - answer questions on a book the class were reading. I skimmed the book looking for the answers . Unfortunately (fortunately) the questions did not ask one to repeat the facts but asked ' why do you think .. , or do you agree with ... , what would you have done..


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