1. Written: Let the student write as much or as little as they want. I think the questions should be very open-ended, with no specific right answers, and should be about issues that the student can relate to. There should be less focus on “facts.” That would relieve a lot of stress, and allow them to really show their intelligence. After those questions are complete, have a section of blank pages where the student is encouraged to write about ANYTHING.
2. Multiple Choice: When putting together the multiple choice questions, there should always be a funny option. I think the funny option, and obviously wrong answer, is always a good way to loosen things up. The brightest minds will never work to their full potential when constantly under an enormous amount of stress.
3. Private Vocal Section: Bring in a psychologist or some kind of specialist or even just “the cool teacher” to talk to each student individually. Give each of them an opportunity to express themselves. I remember being younger and having much better relationships with my teachers outside of the classroom than inside. After this portion, I would have the person having the conversation evaluate where the student’s mind is at.
4. Group: Put students in groups and send them out into the world. Have them interview people, maybe do some type of scavenger hunt. Get them interacting with people, but make sure it’s people from all different classes and walks of life. I think it’s important to show kids how similar all people really are.
5. Physical: A physical test would also be good. Physical health shouldn’t be treated as a joke. Students should know how to eat right, how to exercise, and especially how to get exercise even if they aren’t athletic. (HIKES!!!)
Grading: I don’t think a simple number grade is very good. It allows kids to put themselves into classes based on scores and can be very disheartening. At the end of the day, standardized testing is done to get statistics on schools, districts, cities, and so on. I think the main focus should be on the progressive potential of each student. We should be trying to groom kids to have the ability to change the world and see possibility. In closing, I have no idea if what I just said is possible, but this would be an awesome test.