What if the way you are conducting assessments/tests is developing students to have a fixed mindset, instead of developing a growth mindset? It might be surprising to many, but timed tests can help you develop a growth mindset for students. If done right, tests do not have to be necessary evils, but a way to challenge yourself and grow from those opportunities or failures. Google Timed test is one of the ways teachers can conduct assessments for students.
When you think of successful, intelligent, or skillful people (or if you look at yourself), how do you think they/you got there? Do you think it’s because of their genes or are they gifted? Or do you think they have put in their efforts, smart & hard work to reach and achieve everything they have?
These thoughts are viewed as different mindsets of the human brain. Either it’s a fixed mindset or a growth mindset, though sometimes people tend to have different mindsets for different situations. However, developing a growth mindset will lead you to achieve higher things in life. (Not that a fixed mindset is evil here, but it comes with lots of mental limitations and efforts to prove oneself).
In this article, I am going to talk about how timed tests can help you develop a growth mindset for students.
What is Growth Mindset?
A growth mindset is an outlook toward life – success and failure. It is an approach toward life in which individuals believe their talents, abilities, and intelligence can be developed further. People with a growth mindset seek opportunities to learn, enhance existing skills, and gain new skills/knowledge.
Besides, they believe that hard work and not luck or chance will take them far in life. However, it’s not just about believing but also the gestalts of your beliefs and actions that make a growth mindset work. The definition of a growth mindset was given by Dr. Carol Dweck in her book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.
She described it as: ‘the growth mindset is based on the belief that people’s basic qualities, skills, and success are things we can cultivate through our efforts. Although people may differ in their initial talents and aptitudes, or interests, everyone can change and grow through experience and application.” In order to understand the growth mindset better, you must know that there is an opposite concept – a fixed mindset. The concept is also given by Dr. Dweck, contrary to a growth mindset, a fixed mindset means that your talents, abilities, or personality traits are given & unchangeable. You are born with it and that’s it.
How to Develop a Growth Mindset?
Helping students or basically anyone to develop a growth mindset is a deliberate effort from teachers, family, employers, and even your own self. But many methods can be easily integrated into existing practices. The following tips can help educators develop a growth mindset in their students.
- Challenge is an opportunity
- Actions are more important not traits
- Pay attention to how you speak or act
- Celebrate growth with and of others
- Change your perspective on failures
- Stop seeking approvals from others (when not needed, trust your guts)
- Start using the word ‘yet’ often
- Cultivate Grit
- Reflect on what you are doing (on an everyday basis)
- Try different learning
Why are tests important for learning?
Tests are one way of challenging students to learn. Exams might be a very controversial topic and have different perspectives from both students’ and educators’ points of view. Most view testing as a necessary evil, However, in this blog, we are going to just focus on why tests are important for learning, especially when learning is one way to develop a growth mindset. In the handful of studies conducted so far, scientists/researchers have found that retrieving information from memory, as compared to simply restudying produces a higher level of activity in some parts of the brain.
The retrieval learning process (like assessments, tests, or quizzes) is better at improving retention than just any other learning method. Retrieval practices are especially powerful compared to most favored study strategies – highlighting, rereading notes, practices that are comparatively least effective. Another benefit of testing is that it identifies gaps in knowledge and lets students focus on areas where their knowledge is deficient.
What is a timed test? (how it develops a growth mindset)
Now, as we move into the part where we discuss why timed tests are good and how they help to develop a growth mindset. There will be different perspectives to it, one who believes tests/assessments are a good way to learn anything and improve one’s knowledge. Another, is who thinks timed tests are nothing but a way to demotivate students and not develop their growth mindset, create a fixed mindset and it starts from an early age.
However, timed tests are a great way to learn and develop a growth mindset, especially if taken in a good and positive spirit. Right here we are just going to touch upon why timed tests are good and can you develop a growth mindset through them. Timed tests are exams/assessments that students have to complete in a limited given time. So, for students, it sort of becomes a race against time which causes anxiety, nervousness, and a lot of things.
However, if timed tests are perceived correctly – it is a way to challenge oneself and compete against their own prior time and not other students. How you create google timed tests or perceive them to students depends upon teachers. Timed tests done in moderation will result in a positive outcome, even so (maybe) develop a growth mindset. Teachers who use ‘timed tests’ every once in a while to ‘assess’ students in how well they are progressing & understanding instead of using google timed tests to ‘teach’ or as ‘fact practice’ could actually use the tests as an opportunity to develop growth mindsets in their students
You can create timed tests in a way that assesses your students and see how many facts they get correct in the time given – but instead of comparing their knowledge based on the scores they achieve, you can keep a graph/chart so that they can measure their progress. Or try having several facts (that your students have been working on building their understanding) and time them to see how long they take to complete. Then, you can again later assess those same facts and see if they have a fast grasp over them. Besides, approaching students with a mindset that if they are not able to complete a set of problems within a minute, they will be able to do that eventually is equally important.
How can you create a Google timed test?
If you are someone who has used Google Forms for creating tests, then you might know how to create one. However, with no in-built timer feature, there might be chances that you don’t create a google timed test. Don’t worry my friends, I have written about how you can create a Google Timed test with a timer add-on that you can install from Google Workspace Marketplace. You can check out the article here – How to conduct online tests in Google Forms?
ExtendedForms add-on is the timer extension that you can use to create a Google timed test. The app can be easily installed just like any other Google app through Google Workspace Marketplace. It is a great timer app that comes with no extra fuss to configure, you just install, configure, and set up the basic settings. Besides, the app comes with extra cool features like – Classroom Integration, Email Customization, and Image Cropping (a new feature where you can crop user, team profile images, and brand logo).
Further, the app has a team feature where you can add team members and create a team in ExtendedForms. Besides, the app has come up with the newest feature – the ‘Manager team role’, in which you get the option of adding a manager as a team role. ExtendedForms is a must-try add-on, I would recommend you to try its free quota, and if you like it subscribe to its paid versions.
A growth mindset is equivalent to ‘practice makes perfect.’ You must consistently incorporate strategies and tips in your life that develop a growth mindset. Every day learning and putting in the extra effort will definitely lead you to convert your fixed mindset into growth.
This is the end of our topic – How Timed Tests Develop Growth Mindset. I hope you have a got gist of what is a growth mindset, how you can develop one through google timed tests. Also, to know how you can create Google timed test with a timer add-on feature, just check out the link given above.