The Quick and the Excellent: In Test-Taking, There is no Link, Says Teachers College Professor
It is an anxiety-producing experience for many college students: you are taking an exam in a room filled with people and you have completed about half the test. Then you see others turning in their exams and leaving the room.
If you find yourself in that situation, don't worry, says a professor at Teachers College, Columbia University, for there is no relationship between the speed with which one completes an exam and how well one does on the test.
Richard Wolf, a professor in the Teachers College Department of Measurement, Evaluation and Statistics, has compared exam-taking speed and exam grades in more than 1,000 cases over the last two decades.
According to Wolf, both the students who complete an exam early and the ones who do not turn it in until the last minute include two kinds of people, who balance each other out in any analysis.
The quick exam takers are made up of students who have a confident knowledge of the material, Wolf says, but they also include students who are doing a lot of guessing and just want to be done with it.
The ones who work until the last minute of the exam period include students who are struggling and students "who know the material and just won't let go," the professor says.
Teachers College is a graduate school devoted to education both in and out of the classroom and across the lifespan. It is an affiliate of Columbia University but retains its legal and financial independence. The College has more than 4,000 students studying for both master's and doctoral degrees. In the first survey of graduate schools of education conducted by the staff of U.S. News & World Report, the College was ranked fourth in the nation and first in the New York City area.
Published Tuesday, Sep. 18, 2001