ENGL 101 Section 6

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

    Christina Crow's assignment 4


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    Post  christina.crow on Fri Feb 24, 2012 5:09 pm

    Christina Crow
    English 101 sec. 6
    February 24, 2012

    Standardized testing has been used in public education for many years. For as long as they were implemented, they have also been debated. Supporters believe that standardized testing measures a child’s education level, at a national standpoint and a global standpoint, and serve as good indicators as to which school districts are improving education and which may need more help. Those against standardized testing argue that the tests do not measure knowledge and hinder the education process. Although the two sides may seem polar opposite, both sides do have one aspect in common: they want the children to receive the best possible education. The debate within the standardized testing issue is whether or not standardized testing enhances or hinders the education process. Rather than only pointing out only the good or only the bad in standardized testing, the more logical argument is one in the middle. The idea of standardized testing in itself is beneficial. The problems arise when it becomes more than a simple test to determine a child’s success and improvement. Standardized testing has many benefits including a set standard, a method to measuring where students stand against one another and against other districts, and it reveals which fields of study certain schools need improvement on; standardized testing should not be used for placement, graduation, or job readiness.
    As the name implies, standardized testing is a standard for all students. A standard is set to make sure that the students are all on the same page, sort of say. The standard sets the bar for children to reach and for educators to help children achieve. Some argue that this standard inhibits those who can go above it from doing so; however this is not the case. Students can go as far above the standard as they can, the important thing is that majority of students do fall below it. And even if this does happen, it is not so much the students’ fault, but rather an indication that improvement for that particular school is needed.
    The tests are not designed for certain genders or races and they are not school specific; they are equal. Many people against standardized testing argue this as a reason to ban them; however this is exactly what makes them useful. It is true that students in school districts with more money score higher and students in poorer districts score lower. But it is with this test taking process that these results were drawn in the first place. As Covaleskie mentions in his article, Two Cheers for Standardizes Testing, “The public perception is that the quality of education is already poor and that testing will both provide the evidence of this poor quality and serve as the prod to improvement. Educators need to become players in the political game, working to improve, not stop, testing” (2). The conclusion that can be drawn now is that if education is indeed a priority for people, they should donate to the poorer schools because they need the help whereas richer areas are doing fine. One cannot expect for an easier test to be given to the poorer communities just because they may have more external factors at play in regard to their score. One would not expect an employer to say “well, you came from a poorer neighborhood so I’m going to expect less from you.” So, while it may be true that there is a correlation between the money the district has and the test scores; that is no reason to undermine the importance of a standardized test. The tests would be useless if there was no set standard at play. The standard allows for public educators to see which schools are excelling and which schools need more support.
    The results from the standardized testing reveal a few critical aspects of our children’s education. Aside from revealing which students from which schools received high scores, the tests reveal which areas of study the school itself either needs improvement on or is doing well in. How does one measure whether or not the school as a whole is meeting certain expectations if there is no way to measure where each individual student stands in regards to certain subject matter? The answer is: you can’t. This is not to say that standardized testing has a high accuracy, but as Covaleskie argues, “My belief, however, is that doing it not well, but doing it as well as we can, it better than not doing it at all. As public servants, I think we owe the community as much information as we can provide about how their children are doing in our care” (3). Schools need a standard, a method of measuring where their students fall compared to other students in the same district, city, state, and even country. For example, right now American students are scoring lower in math and science areas. Without standardized testing, Americans would have never known this. So, now that it has been brought to our attention, educators can target those subjects and give them more attention. This method is not “teaching the test”, this method is spending more time on areas that students seem to be struggling on. There is a very large distinction between the two, and it is important to recognize this.
    Paragraph about reasons why standardized testing does not reveal the whole person. Test anxiety, not taking test seriously, etc. “The significance of the scores becomes even more dubious once we focus on the experience of students. For example, test anxiety has grown into a subfield of educational psychology, and its prevalence means that the tests producing this reaction are not giving us a good picture of what many students really know and can do” (Kohn 3).
    Using standardized testing as a means of placement is when school administrators have overused the effectiveness of the tests. A common complaint heard among the students who take the tests is that they were unable to take a certain class because of their low scores. The argument that one score does not determine the student’s true potential is one hundred percent true. One test score should not have the power to set a student’s education path. When it comes down to which classes a students can or cannot take, more than just the score of a certain test should be considered. For example, many high schools offer an honors program. If a student has the ambition and the drive to challenge him or herself by taking the honors program he or she should be given the opportunity to do so even if he or she did not receive a high enough score on a particular test. For example, if said student excelled in their previous classes and received no complaints from previous teachers that student should be allowed to go into the honors program at least for a trial period. If the student seems to be doing well he or she should stay in the class, if however the student is struggling then, and only then, should the student be put into a lower level class. It is important for a student to be placed in the correct classes based off their education needs. If a student needs more time and learns more slowly, then he or she should be in a class that offers this accommodation. If a student learns quickly or can manage a higher demanding class, then no test should prevent that student from receiving their education. This placement system should not be based off one score on a test, but rather should be based by each specific individual.
    Similarly to class placement, standardized testing should not be used as an indicator as to which student can and cannot graduate. If the student was able to pass all of their required classes and has received the necessary credits for graduation based on their states requirements, then no test should prevent someone from receiving what he or she deserves and has worked hard to achieve. One test should not have the power to dictate who receives their diploma. If anything, a student’s grades, involvement, and external factors such as a job, family, money, etc. all say more about a particular student than one test can. If a student does not score high enough on a test, that does not mean that that student is dumb and unfit for graduation. It simply means that this student, on the particular day he or she took the test, did not select enough of the correct answers to pass. An hour long test cannot begin to describe the work and effort a student has put in to his or her education for the past four years. Four years of grades should weigh more than one test result when it comes to whether or not a student can graduate.
    Another result standardized testing cannot predict is whether or not an individual is ready for college. Many colleges require a student to take either the SAT or the ACT. Whichever score the college chooses to look at is then taken into consideration before a student is accepted. No school looks primarily at the SAT or ACT scores, however all schools that do require them take those scores into account during the admission process. For many colleges and universities these scores will not prevent a student from receiving an acceptance letter, but for the top universities and Ivy League schools one low score can decide one’s future. Colleges look at many factors: grades, letters of recommendations, involvement, commitment, after school activities, and those tests scores. If all of these aspects are not perfect, one can almost kiss their chances of getting an acceptance to a top school good-bye. The current acceptance process is clearly flawed. A score on a test should not be the deciding factor as to which student gets an acceptance letter and which does not. The test results do not parallel a student’s ability. Today’s society is competitive, and often these scores are used to choose one candidate over another. Although one can see the logic behind that thought process, the acceptance process as a whole would be better off without standardized testing.
    A score on a standardized test does not reveal whether or not someone is capable of having a job. Kohn asks an insightful question in his argument, “How many jobs demand that employees come up with the right answers on the spot, from memory, while the clock is ticking?” (4) These tests are not realistic in determining who and who is not prepared to work. For example, a mechanic does not need to know what makes a prokaryotic cell different than a eukaryotic cell. Most jobs are more specific to a particular task and one does not need to know an abundance of information to excel in their work anyway. Furthermore, in the real world, if an individual does not know an answer to a question, he or she can utilizes any outside source; whether it is the internet or another coworker. People are not required to know everything there is to know in order to hold a job. However, a person is required to know how to attain the information. The process of learning how to gain the knowledge is in a sense more important than having that knowledge stored away in the back of one’s brain. Members of a certain job field should have knowledge of their particular field, but knowledge outside their field is superfluous and not necessary for their job. In short, a standardized test tests a broad range of topics, often unrelated to the particular job a student wants to have, and is not an appropriate indicator for whether or not a student is ready for a job.
    When used appropriately, standardized testing can result in a lot of good for the education system. It can serve as an effective tool indicating where education can be improved and which areas are excelling. The problems arise once a test is used as more than a simple tool for tracking an individual’s progress. Once these tests dictate a certain path that student must follow or prevents a student from achieving more, that is when these tests should be banned. No one score can provide sufficient evidence against a student to prevent him or her from attaining the education he or she desires and deserves.

    1. Do you disagree with any of my opinions? If so, it would help me "counter argue" your opinions and strength my paper.. Like a rebuttal. Smile

    2. Is my thesis clear? Can you tell my argument is that standardized testing should ONLY be used to measure students improvement? And that once it is used for more than that it is being abused? That standardized testing should not impact anyone's life which should relieve some of that stress?

    3. Is there any more topics you feel like I should have included? Either for or against standardized testing?

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    Post  audry.white on Fri Feb 24, 2012 8:58 pm

    1. You do a good job backing up your opinion
    2. yes your thesis is clear, yes i can tell what your argument is
    3. you did a good job with your topics, your golden

    3 things you did well
    1. Good intro
    2. Good organization
    3. Good use of sources

    3 things to be improved
    1. maybe you could paraphrase some of the articles
    2. Use more sources

    I do not have any questions for you Smile
    jasmine blackwell

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    Post  jasmine blackwell on Fri Feb 24, 2012 9:13 pm

    1. Your intro made it very clear as to what your essay was going to be about, which allowed your opinion of Standardized testing to be very evident . By doing so your whole essay was nicely put together to defend your thesis. Nice job
    2. Yes, your thesis is very clear,which informs the audience of what your essay will be about!
    3. No i think you covered all of the necessary topics in order to correctly defend your thesis!

    Your thesis was put together very well, your conclusion really wrapped up the topic as a whole leaving no room for unanswered concerns from the portions of the issue in which you diagnosed and your body was full of good information in which supported your intro throughout your entire essay.

    You could paraphrase your articles
    add more information about the opposing side in order to make a counterclaim, however thats not too important as your goal is to defend your side of the issue
    Use more sources to gain more ethos !

    NICE job!!
    --sorry i don't have a question for you !!!! sunny

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    Post  cmbevier3 on Fri Feb 24, 2012 11:01 pm

    1.) Personally I agree with all of your opinions for they were backed up very well.
    2.) I understood the thesis after reading it over, its a bit foggy however.
    3.) All the topics I would use have been used, so good job.

    I liked how you backed up your information and everything was well supported.
    Your thesis could be a bit stronger, but for the most part this is a great start.

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