President Egge Speaks to Purpose in Tests for Spiritual Formation
“School would be wonderful if it were not for all the tests,” a student lamented. It may be a feeling many of us also experience outside of the classroom.
Permit me to take the teacher’s side and say that writing and grading a good test is also difficult.
Good test questions must target important information, central to the purpose of the class. They must distinguish between students who know the material and those who do not. However, a test may measure knowledge but not learning. Let me explain what I mean.
My Testing and Measurements college professor emphasized that learning is more than retaining information. Learning involves choices, behaviors, and attitudes. For example, if someone is taking an auto maintenance class, a test may show if a student knows how often to change engine oil, examine the tires, and check the anti-freeze. My prof said, “You will have to examine the student’s vehicle to evaluate what he/she learned.” Retaining information is knowledge. Acting on the information is learning.
At Hillcrest, we study God’s Word and give tests to evaluate the student’s knowledge. However, our instructors, residence directors, coaches, staff persons, and administrators have a greater goal. It is that students, and ourselves, love and serve the Lord God.
Jesus said His disciples will have learned when they do what He does. He washed their feet and said, “Do you understand [know] what I have done for you? … You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, … Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you should wash one another’s feet.”1 “All men will know that you are My disciples if you love one another.”2 In short, “[E]veryone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.”3 Spirit of the Living God.