On test day, I would rather have a teacher in front of me rather than a babysitter. But, when substitute teachers administer tests, opportunities are created for manipulation, cheating, unanswered questions from students and academic dishonesty. Additionally, students tend to score higher when any additional questions are answered before the test; this situation also allows room for academic dishonesty.

Usually, teachers will allow time at the beginning of class to go over homework or answer any additional questions before a test. Because of this, most students will come to class seeking clarification. On the off-chance that a substitute teacher is stepping in for an instructor, the substitute might not be able to answer such questions, leaving students at a disadvantage. The majority of the time teachers do not know whom their substitute teacher is and are unaware of their qualifications and teaching credentials.

Having a substitute teacher administer a test of any kind can be stressful. Junior Maddy McNee experienced this, and said having substitute teachers administer tests leads to lower overall performance.

“I think that it’s a little bit of an injustice for students to have a substitute teacher when taking a test, because we’re used to [being] in an environment in class where we have an authority figure that we respect and that I know is there to help me and push me to do my best,” McNee said. “If I have someone else who’s of less authority, I feel like I can mess around and not take [the test]as seriously and the learning environment in general and that can diminish my performance on the test and my attitude towards [the] class.”

Some may argue students should come to class prepared and ready to take a test even if the teacher is not present. But even for those who are prepared, having a substitute teacher can be a distraction. Despite being focused and prepared, their peers often take advantage of the situation by procrastinating and fooling around.

Furthermore, McNee adds, “If I was in Spanish class, for example, and I had an English-speaking substitute teacher, which is something that happens a lot, I wouldn’t be able to communicate on the same level with that teacher to be able to get the feedback that I need,” McNee said.

Since teachers are not aware of whom their substitute will be, it is important for the fairness of the student that the teacher should not have tests on days they have subs. Instead, teachers should leave assignments, such as review work, that does not require the qualifications necessary for the specific subject.

Students rely on their teachers for a multitude of reasons, so if the teacher fails to show up for class, it weakens the confidence of the student and stability of the classroom environment.

“It’s unfair towards the student because during the test, the teacher is suppose to be there for when you have questions, so if there’s a substitute there in the place of the teacher, I’m not in the same positions where I can ask clarifying questions,” McNee said.

Even some teachers say they feel uncomfortable leaving important class work for the substitute to teach because of possibility of incompletion and misunderstanding. They say students may also take the opportunity to cheat when substitute teacher is in the room. Algebra 1 teacher LaShuan Bland, who has been teaching for 23 years, has experienced this in many of her classes.

“I usually postpone major assignments including test or quizzes if I’m going to be out,” Bland said. “One of my concerns is if a student has any questions, if the sub knows he may tell [the student], [but] if he doesn’t, the student can’t get the guidance they need. I’m also concerned [with]cheating when I leave assignments like [test and quizzes]. Typically, substitute teachers are babysitters and they don’t put parameters in place to prevent collaborating or socializing during major assignments, [so] I would be more comfortable if I was in the room rather than a substitute” Bland says.

Substitute teachers can be taken advantage of by students, who may sit together to look over to their peer’s paper or use their phone and take pictures of the test.

All this can be frustrating for the substitute teacher as well, because teachers sometimes do not leave enough instructions for the substitute. The failure to provide proper instruction hinders student understanding, which can lead to the possibility of poor performance.

If a teacher will be absent on the day of a test, the test should be postponed or a qualified teacher should   administer the test instead. If a teacher is willing to give a major assignment while absent, a detailed agenda should be given for the benefit of the students as well as for the benefit of the substitute.

About The Author

Maya Ravel-Bailey
Woj's Assistant

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.