No, I don’t mean for your final – that’s never a good thing! But this article from the NY Times explores the idea of an exam helping students actually learn material.
Is it the ultimate “teaching (or learning) to the test,” or is it a way to focus students on information that is important? An argument could be made both ways, but since students can in no way learn *all* the material in a given subject in one semester or year-long class, then doesn’t it make sense to focus them up front on what you want them to learn?
IMO, this could work if: 1) students are very clear that the up-front test is not something that is graded, and not intended in any way to be something to measure their learning – in today’s high-test environment, this can be a challenge; and 2) the test truly hits on the important points, in a way that does not limit how students learn the information, but simply focuses them for the upcoming learning period.
Is this possible? Teachers, any input?