Forcenturies, there have been myriads of arguments among educationalpractitioners regarding what is the best way to evaluate the academicprogress of learners. This is mainly because learning institutionsand instructors have had to choose from many methods of conductingevaluations, which include (but are not limited to): portfolios,practical projects, pre-tests, auditions, presentations, andstandardized examinations. Teachers employ a combination of either ofthese methods to evaluate student learning outcomes contingent ontheir viability and benefits. Nonetheless, the most conventionalstyle of student evaluation is standardized testing. Globally,standardized examinations are mostly preferred because they areconsidered the greatest approach to assessing the academic mileagestudents have covered over scheduled periods of time. This haseducational stakeholders speculating: “Are standardized tests thebest way to evaluate student learning outcomes?” In this script, Iwill clarify why presentations are the best way to test the academicmastery of content in learners.
First,presentations are the best way of checking the academic progress ofstudents because unlike standardized examinations, they test morethan the memorizing and scripting competencies in learners. Let’scall a spade a spade. Standardized examinations instill a systemwhere students are encouraged to strictly pursue better grades andnot knowledge. Students are programmed to master how to answer“repeated questions” in search of “higher grades.” are fairer because they evaluate more than a student’sacademic mastery of content. Above and beyond testing academicsubstance, presentations are better because they evaluate the degreeto which a learner can apply the knowledge acquired in class to solveproblems in practice. This is because in presentations, learners getto practically apply the theoretical information (knowledge) acquiredfrom a learning process.
Assumea chemistry class for instance. A student’s measure of contentmastery is confirmed when a student practically mixes chemicals inthe laboratory to create required products without explosions. Astudent might excel in standardized chemistry examinations, but failto apply the elementary concepts of chemistry in practice. We haveheard of people who have the best grades, but are “quacks” intheir respective fields. This often happens because learners arenever given the opportunity to demonstrate (in a presentation) howthe knowledge they have acquired from a learning process can beapplied in practice. The gap between knowledge and practice can bebridged through presentations because learners get to apply theacademic concepts acquired in class to practically solve anticipatedwork-related problems. Therefore, presentations are the best becausethey adequately measure over and above the memorizing and writingproficiencies of students.
Secondly,presentations are the best way to evaluate student learning outcomesbecause they are platforms for identifying (testing) the exact areaswhere individual students need assistance. In presentations, studentsoften stand in front of their class. Here, learners make vocal andphysical demonstrations of curriculum-related concepts. Ininteractive one-on-one segments with their instructors and peers,students get the chance to exhibit their depth of knowledge. Throughquestion and answer episodes, presenting students provide theirinstructors with an insight into their thought processes. Inpresentations, learners physically demonstrate and verbally supportwhy they know what they know. In examinations, this is mirrored asmere figures in the form of test results.
Revisitingthe chemistry class illustration, the instructor of the class will beable to evaluate the thought processes of student X on calculatingthe latent heat of vaporization of water. In the presentation, theinstructor will be able to gauge (test) why student X thinks one wayand not the other. Similarly, the instructor will assess the depth ofknowledge and thought processes of students A, B, and C with specificregard to the calculations on the latent heat of vaporization ofwater. In the long run, the instructor will be able to determine thespecific areas where his/her students are not adept. Intrinsically,the instructor will know the exact underlying reasons why his/herstudents have not yet clearly grasped the concepts of thecalculations which is not achievable through standardizedexaminations.
Youcan argue that an instructor can also acquire such information fromtest scores which is actually true. It is a fact that from testtallies, an instructor can decipher the fact that his/her studentsare not good at computing some calculations. Sadly, these testresults are only a depiction of the students’ current academicstates. From test scores, a teacher will become aware of the factthat 75% of his/her class cannot compute some calculations. Students’academic mastery of content translates into test statistics that donot explain the underlying reasons behind their academic positionswhich invalidates the essence of standardized examinations as anevaluation method. Quite the reverse, presentations diagnose andunearth the causative factors of the current academic states byproviding an insight into the reasoning and thought processes oflearners. In this regard, presentations are the best methods ofevaluating student learning outcomes.
Forcenturies, educational practitioners have been selecting theprotocols of student evaluation from an expansive list of methods.They have been choosing these methods contingent on their benefitsand viability. Despite the fact that standardized tests are the mostemployed approaches of evaluating student learning outcomes,presentations are the best. As this paper has clarified,presentations are the best evaluation protocols because they assessmore than the memorizing and scripting proficiencies in learners.What’s more, they provide the underlying narratives behind testsscores which are marked as potential areas for improvement. In anutshell, this paper has explained why presentations are the best wayof evaluating the academic mastery of content in learners.