Marilyn Palacios staff writer
Nick Kay staff writer
Unlike the days when students were surrounded by their classmates as the teacher supervised during a test, many Beverly Hills Unified School District (BHUSD) teachers have been “brainstorming” new ways to evaluate their students.
English and Special Ed teacher Necha Vachhani opted for a more project based curriculum so students get to be more creative.
Vachhani is currently reading Shakespeare with both her freshman and sophomore students. Her most recent project gives students the ability to use online research but it also requires their understanding of the material.
“I am having them make their own movie adaptation, so they can rewrite [Romeo and Juliet]. They get to choose the actors in their versions and justify why that person fits into the character they chose. That way they are analyzing the original characters in the play and relate them to actors they know,” Ms. V said.
Junior Lior Navon has a few teachers who are utilizing oral tests with the intention to make sure each student is present and retaining the information they should be learning during class.
“For Spanish, we have oral quizzes, and the teacher got really mad because some of my classmates look at their [Spanish] book while taking the oral quiz,” Navon said.
Junior Juha Kim takes her Physics class quizzes and tests online through Apexlearning, a website that allows students to work at their own pace. The different dynamics in class that come with taking tests online are apparent to Kim.
“They tell us, ‘Ok, it’s almost time for the quiz, open your study guides. If you have notes on the side, open it up as well if you want.’ It’s funny to me because usually teachers hate it when you even think about cheating,” Kim said.
Ms. V touches on the reality of students’ easy access to outside resources while testing at home.
“I know there are ways teachers can lock the browsers but I’m pretty sure you can go around it if you use a different window. Or most students have your phones,” Vachhani said.
The decision to utilize websites like Google Forms, Newsela, Edpuzzle, and others is up to each individual teacher. Go Formative is a website Navon explains his English teacher, Ms. V, uses for multiple choice tests. It is a live interactive website where teachers have the option to create tests or use test templates to give students and see the answers students input.
While there are dozens of similarly designed websites to test students with from home, some teachers decided to eliminate tests and quizzes altogether. The Engineering Aerospace class follows this model and this year they are beginning to adapt to the teachers new no-testing code.
“We haven’t had any tests or quizzes yet, we actually aren’t going to take any,” Navon said. “We just have a bunch of assignments to complete. I learn a lot from them.”
Navon mentioned he “doesn’t really care” about not having tests because he “knows this year is difficult for everyone, and it should be modified as to how teachers think best of the situation.”
Spanish teacher José Peixoto chose to do oral quizzes, and “it’s a very complex situation.”
“It is very hard on us, we [teachers] have to work three to four times harder [than normal] and the level of stress is very high. The students are not motivated to study… The most important thing is that students and teachers are working towards a common goal which is a good education for Beverly Hills High school,” Peixoto said.