Ways to Answer the Question “Will This Be on the Test?”



30 thoughts on “Ways to Answer the Question “Will This Be on the Test?”

    1. Well, I don’t mean to be annoyed by the students who ask it – I get where they’re coming from! It’s just something teachers sometimes whine about amongst ourselves, the fact that our educational system favors a sort of test-based tunnel vision instead of broader curiosity.

      1. I had one teacher who argued that it’s disrespectful to students’ time and effort for teachers to teach things that aren’t on the test.

        I’m not sure how true that was, but it was reasonably effective at shutting us up.

        1. Pretty emphatically untrue, I think – “valuable to learn” and “feasible to assess” are not exactly synonymous – but an interesting answer.

  1. Can the calculation be set up on a computer to provide the answer in 0,01 seconds once the variables are entered?
    If the answer is yes it WILL be in the test for at least 15% of the possible total marks as the educator can evaluate it without breaking a sweat!

  2. Hoping that none of my teachers read this post 😛
    I’ve asked this question enough times in my life, and have got similar replies. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

  3. From my spouse: Well, I wasn’t going to put it on the test, but now that you have asked, I guess I have to. You have collapsed the wave-form.

  4. How about the counterpart….

    “This will not be on the test.”

    And all the pencils go down and everyone leans back in their chair…

    “This will non be on the test, but that doesn’t mean you can tune out.”

    Actually, students might be more tuned in when they aren’t trying to take notes.

  5. It might surprise you to know that these responses are very similar to the types lawyers give to the question, “Does the law say I can do this?” Maybe lawyers are failed math teachers ….. ! *gasp

  6. The Don’t Even Fight It. Every. Single. Time. Students should know by now if I say it “may” be on the test then it probably won’t be.

  7. Simply say, “Yes.” That doesn’t stop you from not putting a question on that topic on the test. You can always claim to have forgotten or to have changed your mind or to have been putting the test in the margin of a book that was too small to hold that particular problem.

    Later, you can curse your forgetfulness.

    What students are REALLY saying, as we all know, is: “Do I have to spend time trying actually master this sufficiently to perform well on it when it shows up on the test, or can I simply cut to the chase and wipe it from my mind now and forever more?”

    And I refuse to support that approach to learning mathematics.

  8. My favorite response it “This topic is fair game for the test.”
    That way I don’t commit to anything on the test, I don’t have my students checking out, I am not ostensibly being rude, and my students eventually learn there will be no useful information gained by asking this question.

    Okay, perhaps it is a little rude. However it doesn’t feel rude.

  9. It seems to me that you could always just say “I haven’t decided yet!”

    In a related vein, this post made me think about why this post exists. It’s a post from a teacher, aimed at teachers, who all know why they dislike the question. I’m writing a website where I try to translate things like this into a discussion for parents who want to understand what is going on in math, but have no real background. I wrote my thoughts about this post at https://themathdragons.wordpress.com/2016/05/19/the-wrong-question/ .

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