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This past week was my first time writing up a midterm exam on the college level. So many things ran through my mind.
I thought about some of the most difficult exams that I have taken in my life. I thought about some of the easiest test that I have taken in my life. Then I started to think about how easy/hard I should make the exam for my students.
It really is a bit different from this perspective of a professor and making the exam than being a student and always complaining about the exams. The tension for me is that I don’t want to make the exam too easy, but then I don’t want to make it too hard and discourage the students.
The administration told me that the exam should be no longer than 100 minutes. So after I finished writing the exam, I had my teacher assistant (one of the members of our Jakarta church planting team) take it. After he said that it took him 77 minutes to finish the exam, we decided to cut out some of the questions.
Since not all the students are 100% fluent with English, it would probably take them double the time in trying to finish the exam. After taking out an essay question, eliminating some question, and changing some format of the questions, I concluded that it would be a fair test and a good measurement of their learning thus far.
After giving the instructions for the exam, I watched the students take the test. It is really interesting to see the students from this angle. You can tell the ones that studied (they were cruising through the test) and the ones that didn’t study as much. In fact, as the students were hanging in the exam, I asked how the exam went and out of the six students that were asked, five of them said that it was hard.
I tried to encourage them that it will be graded on a curve.
But I don’t know how much of it brought them comfort.
Then this got me thinking.
Is giving examination the best way to know if a student is learning and processing things?
To this question, I say, “Yes!”
I started wondering about how God gives us “test” in our lives. God wants to know if we have really learned the lesson that He has been trying to teach us for years. God wants to know if we have grown in wisdom and insights to His heart. God wants to know if we are committed to the “curriculum.”
Until we pass His exams, we are going to find ourselves taking the same test over and over again.