ENGL 101 Section 6

Forum for students in ENGL 101 Section 6, Spring 2012, Washington State University


    Standardized Testing

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    AFeldhaus

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    Join date : 2012-02-24

    Standardized Testing

    Post  AFeldhaus on Fri Feb 24, 2012 4:00 pm

    Argument Essay

    When it comes to standardized testing, I believe that the system as a whole is flawed. There is something seriously wrong with standardized testing but that doesn’t mean we have to get rid of it completely. The government, state and community deserve to know how schools are performing so that is why I recommend the standardized tests are looked at and improved so they can display accurate and complete data.
    Standardized testing is good for many reasons. . One reason is because it shows if students have learned what the teacher is teaching them. These tests show if students understand what is going on in class and they are a good evaluation of where the student is at in the class. “The US Department of Education stated: Although testing may be stressful for some students, testing is a normal and expected way of assessing what students have learned." Another reason standardized tests are a good thing is because people have the right to know what’s going on in the classroom.
    “Further, the states fund the schools, and states have the authority and responsibility under the U.S. Constitution and the individual state constitutions to regulate education in the state. The state has a compelling interest in the quality of the education of its children, as a matter of both practicality and principle. The practical responsibility follows from the fact that the state funds a large portion of the cost of schooling and has an obvious interest in the economic well-being of its citizens” (Covaleskie 4).
    This quote is made by John Covaleskie who wrote an article about how standardized tests are flawed but are still very important. In the quote he’s saying that the states fund these schools that take the standardized tests so they have the right to know how these schools are performing. The state also needs to know because they have an interest in the education of children and how are they supposed to know how students are doing or how each school is doing without these tests? I think that is virtually impossible, schools need some way to show that the students they are teaching are learning the information and they are improving from year to year. That’s one of the biggest arguments because if we didn’t have these standardized then no one would know how each school is doing. If I was a parent, I would want to know how my child is doing and I would also want to know the scores of each school so I could send my kid to the best possible school.
    Another reason standardized testing is good is because it lets parents, teachers and the school know how they are doing locally and globally. Parents can compare how their students are doing compared to other schools and even other states. Standardized testing allows schools to compare their results against other schools results. Another reason standardized testing is good is because the tests allow the students’ progress to be tracked throughout the year. If these students are taking similar tests yearly, then it is easy to see if they are improving, declining or staying at the same level. This is very important because then a parent can know what’s going on with their child and if they are improving that’s probably good news but if they’re declining then maybe something needs to be addressed with the child. I think both of these points show how standardized testing is helpful. Also since every student is taking basically the same test, then it’s easy to compare between genders and races. It’s easy to compare how girls are doing to boys and how Caucasians are doing against African Americans. Without these tests we would have no indication how each gender is going, how each race is doing and how students are doing in school. Standardized testing has many other benefits that many people may not know of. They are cheap and don’t take up that much time. These tests don’t take away a lot of time from the classroom and they are cheap to make so the tests don’t cost the government and the schools a lot of money. Also when teachers argue that they have to “teach to the test,” that’s not necessarily a bad thing because that just means that they’re teaching the main concepts and skills that grade needed to learn/know. “State-mandated standardized tests help prevent "social promotion," the practice of allowing students to advance from grade to grade whether or not they have met the academic standards of their grade level." This means that the students have to show that they are capable of moving to the next grade and without these tests students would be moving up, even if they weren’t ready.
    Standardized tests are not all good news; there are many flaws that need to be addressed. One of the biggest flaws is standardized testing has not improved student achievement. "Despite using them for several decades, policymakers and educators do not yet know how to use test-based incentives to consistently generate positive effects on achievement and to improve education." So if these tests aren’t improving our students, then why do we have them? I believe we need to change the tests or improve them somehow so that we do see some sort of improvement. Tests are very crucial to education because they show what a student knows, if we took these tests out completely then we would have no idea if students are improving or declining. “Standardized tests are unfair and discriminatory, because students with diverse backgrounds and skill levels are expected to answer questions written for the white, abled majority." I think this point is very hard to argue with because if these tests are written for the white students, then how are students with a different background or diversity supposed to do well? One improvement could be that maybe there isn’t just one test for the whole country or the state, but instead there are multiple tests for multiple regions. Certain regions get certain tests because of the situation they are in. This makes sense and I believe it would improve the scores and even if it didn’t then we’re back where we started. It’s also hard to argue for abolishing the tests for good because that isn’t going to happen anytime soon so that’s not a real argument. Teachers need to work with the test makers to improve these tests. One problem with the tests is they are multiple choice. It is impossible to show your work on multiple choice problems and so students can’t really show what they know or what they have learned. If the tests had better problems or problems where the question requires you to show your work and explain how you got your answer, I believe that would be an improvement. Another problem with the tests is, the reading sections have dull reads and questions that barely relate to the reading. This isn’t fair to the students taking the tests and if the people who make the tests made more interesting passages to read, then maybe we could see some improvement in that area. I know that when I took the test about three years ago, I had the same problems. The reading was dull so I would just skim through it and then guess on the questions about the reading. Also I preferred the math questions where you have to show your work instead of pick between a,b,c and d; but that’s just one student.
    There are many more flaws with standardized testing that need to be addressed. Even though I believe that standardized testing works, I think that there are some problems with the test that need to be changed so it can be more affective. If we can change the test and make it more affective then I believe the people who are against standardized testing might change their minds. One problem with standardized tests is they place a lot of stress under students and teachers. They feel the pressure because the schools make it seem like they have to get a perfect score or the teachers have to have every student pass the test. These feelings of stress can affect the student and teacher negatively by making them hate the school or hate the person in charge. I believe a simple solution would be to not put so much importance on these tests. Instead have teachers teach the curriculum and the students should do fine on the tests if the teachers are good at their job. If the teachers are teaching the correct material then the students should do just fine on the exam and have nothing to worry about. Also if the teachers teach the correct curriculum them they should believe in their students and not be so stressed out that they won’t do well. Another big flaw with the standardized tests is it “drives good teachers and principals out of the profession” (Alfie Kohn 18). Kohn argues that good teachers don’t want all that pressure on themselves and they don’t want to have to teach to the test so they get out of the profession. Also principals are hard to find at schools that had bad test scores because they didn’t want to take the blame. Even though Kohn brings up some good points, they are hard to agree with. When someone wants to become a teacher they not of the standardized tests, they probably have taken them. Why would a teacher quit when they know what they are getting into, also if these teachers are such great teachers, I find it hard to believe they would quit over a standardized tests. One could argue that this is a good thing because then the school system is getting rid of the teachers that can’t handle the pressure and maybe weren’t meant to be a teacher; the same thing goes with the principals. Even though Kohn brings up many good points, and points that I agree with, we can’t talk out these tests as a whole.
    Even though there are many flaws with standardized testing, I believe they need to stay but they need to be improved. Teachers should work with the people who make the tests so that the questions can be improved. There are also a lot of multiple choice questions and it’s hard to show what a student knows by filling in a bubble, a good solution would be to have less multiple choice problems and more problems where you have to show your work. I think these tests are too important to be taken out of the system and I believe there is a middle ground where both sides can agree. These tests let parents and the schools know how students are doing and the scores can be compared to other scores and even other states. These tests can also track how students are doing year by year, whether if their improving, declining or staying the same. Parents can then know if their students are doing well or doing badly, also schools then know how each grade is doing as the years go by. One of the most important points is public schools are funded by the state and government and therefore they have a right to know how the schools are doing. Without these tests no one would know how schools are performing and what’s going on in the classrooms and if the students are actually learning. Even though these tests do have many problems, that doesn’t mean the tests need to be removed, it just means we need to fix and improve them so they can show even better results and be that much more accurate.

    1) Does my essay flow? Does the organization make sense?
    2) What can I add to improve my argument?
    3) How can I improve my thesis statement?

    kady.carrougher

    Posts : 5
    Join date : 2012-02-24

    Kady Carrougher

    Post  kady.carrougher on Fri Feb 24, 2012 5:08 pm

    Q's:
    1) your organization works, possibly split up paragraphs
    2) add more
    3) your thesis is not just one sentence, so i can't clearly identify it. consolidate.

    did well:
    1) good length and intro/conclusion
    2) used good quotes
    3) understood the system was flawed but still backed up the side you stood for

    work on
    1) breaking up your paragraphs
    2) cite your quotes
    3) integrate your quotes more. don't just recite a quote then say " i agree because " but more we've it in to your argument

    sam.watanabe

    Posts : 5
    Join date : 2012-02-24

    Re: Standardized Testing

    Post  sam.watanabe on Fri Feb 24, 2012 5:22 pm

    Questions
    1. Its a little hard to tell where exactly the paragraphs start because the forum changes the formatting, however, it seems like you have a pretty good flow throughout the essay. I might want to use a little bit more transition from paragraph to paragraph.
    2. You use some phrases like "another reason" a lot. Try finding different words to make the essay fresh throughout.
    3. To improve you thesis statement you should say something like "The government, state and community deserve to know how schools are performing that is why I recommend standardized tests be looked at to be improved so they can display accurate and complete data. Basically get rid of "are looked at and improved" the "and" is a little bit confusing. Also you essay is going more on the path of standardized testing is bad period and can't be improved.

    Three Things You Did Well
    1. I really liked how you there is voice in you paper. It makes it more enjoyable to read.
    2. You chose good places to use a source and used the source appropriately.
    3. You had a strong opinion.

    Three Things to Work On
    1. You could use different word choice in some places.
    2. You could use some transitions between paragraphs.
    3. You have a few typos.

    Question For You
    Would you consider changing your thesis so that it better fits the essay?

    christina.crow

    Posts : 5
    Join date : 2012-02-24

    Re: Standardized Testing

    Post  christina.crow on Fri Feb 24, 2012 6:01 pm

    1) Does my essay flow? Does the organization make sense?
    I thought so! Your argument was similar to mine and I organized it the same way. Started off saying why it’s good and then mentioned why it’s not. So if its unorganized so is mine!

    2) What can I add to improve my argument?
    The language could be more professional. For example, “Standardized tests are not all good news” could be something more like “Standardized tests are flawed” or something to that extent.

    3) How can I improve my thesis statement?

    You could some how combine your last two sentences. Also, you could list out why the current testing system is bad and list out why testing is beneficial. Something like, “the current standardized testing program is flawed because…..; however it does provide a lot of good such as….”
    and mention that you think the government should just fix it and not ban it in your sentence before the thesis. Idk

    Did well:
    1. Your logic all made sense
    2. I like how you included personal connections, like when you mentioned how if you had kids you would want to know how they were doing.
    3. You had facts and evidence to back it up!

    Work on:
    1. Language of the paper
    2. The opening paragraph should introduce the people that you quote throughout the paper
    3. Maybe less “I believe” not sure if we are allowed to write in first person for this..

    Question for you:
    You mentioned in your conclusion that standardized testing could have less multiple choice questions. Would companies be able to do this considering all the tests they must grade? Would partial credit be given for wrong answers?

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