ENGL 101 Section 6

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

    Marlayna Lockwood Assignment 4 essay


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    Post  MLockwood on Fri Feb 24, 2012 6:20 pm

    Marlayna Lockwood
    English 101, Section 6
    Stressed out, sweaty palms, anxiety, can’t think straight; these are just a few terms that come to mind when the words standardized testing come up. No student wants to be tested on a wide variety of topics that is supposed to determine their career paths or even how intelligent they are. There seems to be more disadvantages to the use of standardized testing then benefits for the teachers, students, and education system. Standardized tests seem to only have a few goals in mind; making sure that the teachers are making the school look good, telling students only certain life aspirations they can reach, and also allowing the government to have complete control over the school systems.
    The argument against standardize testing involves the views of the students and teachers and how they are being subjected to a harmful way of learning and teaching. The author of the case against standardized testing: raising the scores, ruining the schools, breaks up the article into multiple parts. These sections include how the information gained in the classrooms only focus on what will be shown on the tests, the format of the tests, and also outside factors that could contribute to poor or high scoring. The first section focuses on the material that the students are taught and will see on the tests. The author claims that the teachers are only focusing on what will be on the standardized tests rather what would actually be helpful for the students to know in the long run (Kohn). The teachers only want the children to know what will be on the test so that both the student and teacher won’t be punished for low test scores.
    Essentially, they become drill sergeants, removing any opportunity for the students to play an active role in their own learning. When the teachers were controlled, in other words, they responded by becoming controlling. That makes it harder for real learning to take place (Kohn).
    This hostile environment is not good for anyone and even though the teachers think that by drilling certain information into the students head will make them do better, the students aren’t actually learning any important information. This situation will then lead to the students having high test anxiety. The pressure to do well gets a hold of many of the students and they are unable to fully focus on the task at hand. This outside factor is not the only issue that can affect how the students perform on their tests.
    Many of the scores do not take into account where the student grew up, how they were taught, or even how they perceive different situations. Not every person solves a problem the same way, which is what, makes each person unique. How and individual looks at a situation depends on their personal life history. The test only corrects the right and wrong answer, not how the students arrived to that answer (Kohn). The questions presented on the test, “rarely examine how students interrelate parts of the text and do not require justifications that support the interpretations,” states Kohn, author of the article. Many of the standardized tests are formatted in a multiple choice arrangement and all the students are required to do is fill in a bubble. From personal experience, filling in bubble can get redundant and tiring and it is also frustrating when an answer is wrong and you are unable to explain why you chose those certain answers. Multiple choice questions are an all or nothing point system and it doesn’t seem fair to not get partial credit for at least trying to solve a problem. This article takes a strong stand against standardized testing and the next article to be analyzed shares the same outlook on these types of tests.
    One supporter of standardized testing was President Bush. During his term, he believed that annually testing for third to eight graders in the areas of reading and math would improve the students test scores as well as help the education system identify what each student needs to improve on (Jost) However to counter act this movement, “People are not happy with the tests,” says John Grossman, president of the Columbus Education Association, a teachers' union. “There's too much pressure on the young people, and they don't see any point.” (Jost) Standardized testing has been around for so many generations that our society can’t seem to give them up even though they are harmful to all who are linked with them. President Bush’s ideas about these test is that he thinks they give an accurate depiction of how smart the students are and how well the school is preparing their students for the “real world.” What President Bush doesn’t understand is that each child learns and a different pace and each teacher teach their students in a variety of unique ways. No matter how much the government tries to create certain lesson plans for teachers, not all are going to follow those instructions.
    Another reason why standardized testing is a harmful action for public schools is that the government is debating whether or not to cut back money funds for schools that have lowest scores (Jost). Those who support these actions believe that by cutting money funds, those schools will then work harder to raise the students’ scores, turning a failing school into a thriving place for learning. To me however, this idea doesn’t seem logical. A school who has to getting aid money from the government and is not producing high scores, taking away their money would only demolish their spirits and those families who have enrolled their students in that school will take their children out. Punishing schools for student’s scores is not fair because those low scores do not take in to account outside factors that may affect the students. As discussed previously in this essay, the teachers can’t control what happens in the students’ lives that could affect their test taking skills.
    I personally have not seen how standardized testing as made me a better students or growing adult. I am an awful test taker and it frustrates me to see that my school grades and test scores do not match up. Many times students have a natural ability to take test, yet they lack in their school work while other students are the complete opposite. Pressuring teachers and students to have high test scores does not seem like an appropriate learning environment. It is understandable that the school system needs a way to see how the students are learning, but standardized testing has not shown any promising results.
    1. Do I address the topics listed in my thesis?
    2. I need one more article, but don't know how I can talk about another one without rambling and repeating myself.
    3. I don't think my conclusion is very strong. Any suggestions?

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    Post  austin.gonzales on Fri Feb 24, 2012 6:40 pm

    1. You do cover all of the topics. You should elaborate on the types of test that tell us what are careers should be and how inaccurate they are.

    2. Another article can just add more credibility to your argument and it might give you more topics to write about.

    3. I like how you talked about your own experiences in it. Just restate your argument, but conclude with the facts to why it is bad.

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    Post  charlie.barrows on Fri Feb 24, 2012 6:55 pm

    1. I think you did a great job covering the main topics, you may want to mention the No Child Left Behind act created by the bush administration.
    2. Since you need another article, you could use one about the (NCLB) act or an article on test anxiety research
    3. I think your conclusion has alot of strength, since you are using personal experiences.
    Things you did well
    1.You had great use of personal experiences
    2. I liked your disscussion on politics and testing in the 5th paragraph
    3. The paper itself flowed well
    Things to improve on
    1. Add more block quotes they will help add bulk to your paper
    2. A few minor gramatical errors
    3. Discuss Kohn's beliefs on why politicians value standardized tests
    jasmine blackwell

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

    Yes you did a good job of clearly addressing the topics in our thesis throughout your paper.
    maybe by finding an article that looks at this situation through a different lens, but still defends your opinion would be a thought!
    By using anecdotal conclusion, i think it wraps up your paper very well!

    -Your intro was catchy
    -you made your argument very clear in your opening paragraph
    -The content of your whole essay was clearly introduced in the intro

    -You could use more block quotes and gain more ethos
    -Use more personal situations throughout your essay
    -fix few grammatical errors

    By including the opposing sides arguments and creating a rebuttal it could strengthen your essay and argument as a whole!

    Overall nice job!! Very Happy

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