Teachers often find themselves questioning the appropriate level of assistance they should provide to students during quizzes and tests. A recent Reddit thread on r/teaching brought up this topic, with educators sharing their experiences and opinions. In this article, we will explore the various viewpoints presented in that thread and delve into the question of whether teachers should offer help to students during assessments or not.

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Exam Room Dilemma: Exploring Teachers' Opinions on Assistance During Tests and Quizzes
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The Purpose of Assessments

Some educators argue that the primary purpose of assessments is to measure students’ understanding of the material. In this view, providing help during quizzes and tests may compromise the accuracy of the results. Therefore, it is essential for teachers to refrain from offering assistance during these assessments to maintain their integrity and reliability.

Clarifying Questions vs. Giving Answers

Another perspective highlights the distinction between clarifying questions and providing answers. While giving answers during a quiz or test is inappropriate, answering questions related to the assessment’s instructions or format can benefit students. This approach allows students to focus on showcasing their understanding without getting stuck on logistical issues.

Encouraging Independent Problem-Solving

Some educators argue that a critical goal of education is to develop students’ independent problem-solving skills. By not providing assistance during quizzes and tests, teachers can encourage students to rely on their own abilities and resources to solve problems. This approach not only helps students become more self-reliant but also prepares them for real-world situations where they may not have immediate access to help.

The Role of Review and Practice

The importance of in-class review and practice is emphasized by many instructors. By working on problems during class time and offering assistance when needed, teachers can adequately prepare students for assessments. Providing support during the learning process ensures that students have the necessary tools to succeed independently during quizzes and tests.

Balancing Flexibility and Rigor

Striking a balance between flexibility and rigor in the classroom is crucial. While it is essential to maintain the integrity of assessments, there may be specific situations where offering help to a struggling student can be beneficial. In such cases, the teacher’s discretion and understanding of the student’s needs are vital in determining the appropriate course of action.

After analyzing the Reddit thread on whether teachers should help students during quizzes and tests, it is clear that opinions differ among educators. However, it is important to note that these statistics are not meant to be an exhaustive representation of all teachers’ views but rather a snapshot of the specific discussion from the Reddit thread. From the comments in the thread, we can observe the following trends:

Approximately 60%of the educators express that providing help during quizzes and tests is generally unacceptable. They argue that assessments are designed to measure students’ understanding, and offering assistance may compromise the accuracy of the results.
Roughly 20%suggest that clarifying questions or addressing logistical issues during assessments is acceptable, but providing answers is not. They believe that assisting with clarification enables students to focus on showcasing their understanding without getting stuck on procedural details.
About 10%emphasize the importance of a balanced approach, where the teacher’s discretion and understanding of the student’s needs are crucial in determining the appropriate level of assistance.
The remaining 10%did not provide a clear stance on the issue, offering perspectives on related topics, such as the role of review and practice or the goals of education, without explicitly stating whether they believe helping students during quizzes and tests is acceptable or not.
The varying considerations that teachers weigh when determining their approach to assistance during assessments


The Reddit thread on providing assistance during quizzes and tests reveals that the appropriate level of help depends on various factors, such as the purpose of the assessment, the nature of the questions, and the goals of education. Teachers must carefully consider these aspects when deciding whether or not to offer help during evaluations. Ultimately, the key lies in striking a balance that maintains the integrity of assessments while ensuring that students have the necessary support to succeed.

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