In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Feb. 6, 2008 / 1 Adar I 5768

Why Test?

By Rabbi S. Binyomin Ginsberg

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Many educators and parents will answer this question wrong

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Recently, a teacher called seeking advice on how to deal with students in his class who cheat on tests. Though he was looking for suggestions on how to effectively punish them, I challenged him to first think about the cause of their deception.

This educator was surprised by my question. Wasn't the answer obvious? The children cheated in order to inflate their grades. I kept on asking different questions until I realized that this teacher never asked himself the most important question: Why do we give students tests in the first place?

Conventional wisdom tells us that tests are administered in order that a teacher be able to gauge how his charges are mastering their subjects.

I feel very comfortable stating that if this is, in fact, the sole or main purpose of giving tests, then test taking should be stopped. I would go so far as to say that it is morally and ethically wrong to give tests just so that the teacher can know how his students are progressing academically.

For the record, I believe that test taking is very important for three primary reasons:

A) Doing so forces a good review of the material learned,

B) This enables the student to see for himself how much and how well he learned, and

C) Children need to learn how to take tests, since life is full of all kinds of tests.

I have heard many other arguments supporting test taking. The most common, from the instructor's perspective, is that he needs the test grades in order to give a report card. It would be my hope that every teacher would know how every student is doing by just being his or her teacher. There are so many real ways for a teacher to assess the progress of a student, without using tests to do so. I would hope that report card grades would be more of a reflection of the student's participation in class than how well he did on his tests.

Another reason many teachers feel they give tests is that doing so provides them with quantitative data — ammunition — to use and justify the report card grade to angry parents.

It is foolish and wrong to give tests for this reason. Those parents who question the grades will usually be the same ones who will still not be satisfied with any response they get as to why their child received a certain grade.

Instead, when questioning their child's grade, parents must ask themselves:

  • How do they react to a test score?

  • What at-home academic support do they provide for their children?

  • Are they providing the necessary quiet and comfortable setting for their children to study for tests?

Some may argue that we should stop the cheating problem by teaching our children the right values. I agree with that to a certain degree. I believe that we must teach children that cheating is wrong. But we don't need tests to teach that lesson. Furthermore, if we are being successful in teaching them the lesson of not cheating, why is cheating a problem that still exists in almost every school across the country?


  • Do we adequately teach students how to take tests?

  • Do we teach students how to study for tests?

A very common question asked every day in classrooms across the country is: "Are we going to have to know this for the test?" That question should be a red flag that the wrong message is being conveyed to the students. Do we want them to think that they only have to learn the material that will be on a test? Obviously not! I would want students to know that anything a teacher teaches is something that the students need to learn and know. Whether or not the teacher will prepare a question on a test to show the student if he learned the topic should not dictate if the student should pay attention to that lesson.

I may be fooling myself, but I strongly believe that if we can educate our children effectively as to why they take tests — to show them how they did — then we will also be successful in stopping much of the cheating that takes place during tests.

If a child understands that the test is for him to know how well he did, then he will hopefully realize that there is no benefit in cheating. He would realize that if he cheats, he is just cheating himself.

I believe that if we can succeed in changing the mindset of why we give tests, there would many additional benefits. Many students, especially those who have anxiety issues, will feel much less stress. That can hopefully help them focus on the real task at hand — learning.

It is my hope that this article has at least opened the door for some further discussion on this topic. I also hope that we can all — with teachers and parents working together — change the common understanding of why students take tests. That will only be a first step, but it will be a huge one.

JWR contributor Rabbi S. Binyomin Ginsberg is dean of Torah Academy in Minneapolis and a columnist for Yated Neeman. Comment by clicking here.


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