ENGL 101 Section 6

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

    Jasmine Blackwell Assignment #4

    jasmine blackwell

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    Post  jasmine blackwell on Fri Feb 24, 2012 8:58 pm

    Jasmine Blackwell
    Section 6

    Standardized testing is a very multifaceted topic, as there are numerous opinions on its standings. While many will argue that standardized testing is the best way to assess a students knowledge, countless amounts of people will argue the very opposite. In this essay I will be discussing what this form of assessment lacks in its diversity and its narrow view of what an above standard student is.
    Standardized testing and its lack of equality, to many is unfair in the sense that it is a test that only examines certain portions of the k-12 education, rather than all of the materials learned over the course of a students pre college career. It is thought to have defects in its overall examination; as for many it does not display their full capabilities as a student. One of the main defects in standardized testing that many people feel is the biggest issue is the content of the test itself as the test leaves no room for originality. Due to the fact that this test is only based off of certain portions of the curriculum, finding ways in which the teachers can drive the necessary information into the students without just teaching them to pass the test is one of the difficulties in preparation of this form of testing. In this quote, Kohn expresses the concern of alter motives deriving from the instructors and their “desires” of why they want their students to succeed on this test.

    Teaching to the test could be described a “legal cheating”-- Drilling students so they’ll do well on the test even if they’re not really learning much of value is generally accepted. In many areas it is expected; indeed demanded by people who think that only test scores matter—or people who are bullied into acting as though they thought that was true. (Kohn)

    This statement defends the theory that in an overall out look of standardized testing, since the pressure to do well is burdened upon the teachers, some students are being swindled out of the education they deserve. Although through the eyes of a teacher this is what their only decision may seem like. Being fully aware of the circumstances of doing well or doing poorly on this test may be, many teachers feel that without their students passing this test, their rankings may plummet and they could be at risk of losing their jobs, as this test holds a high significance in the world of education.

    Remember: If one district or school outscores another, a hefty part of that difference is probably due to sociologic factors and is therefore pedagogically meaningless. But even if we focus on a single district or school, in effect holding those factors constant, improvement on standardized tests over time may be worse than meaningless; it may be reason for concern. (Kohn)

    By not recognizing the faults in standardized testing, to the students it looks as if they are graduating without the proper life qualities that they need in order to survive and become successful. Which in the long run will hurt our society as todays graduates are tomorrows future.

    In any case, all standardized tests tend to ignore the most important characteristics of a good learner – Standardized tests can’t measure initiative, creativity, imagination, conceptual thinking, curiosity, effort, irony, judgment, commitment, nuance, goodwill, ethical reflection or a host of other valuable dispositions or attributes. (Ayers)

    By ignoring the most vital portion of a student’s educational career, having that be, their creativeness and their individuality, the tests that are bringing in the highest scores and being placed in the upper percentiles, aren’t exactly displaying the highest quality of knowledge, but rather they are displaying the qualities that the readers and graders are looking for. Through a lens that shows room for no gray but rather just black and white, the concept of out of the box thinking or imagination is scarcely limited, if there at all.
    It is in this predicament that the whole educational system is questioned, as many will wonder, how the students who are succeeded on these test are doing so well, and how the students are doing so poorly, cant manage to pick up their scores, moving towards the upper percentiles. Due to the limitations on this test, knowing that the rubric of scoring is so black or white, it has become evident that even teachers who lack effectiveness in their abilities to properly educate students, can still manage to have a good percent of their students score in decent percentile ranges, as the knowledge that is needed to do well includes little to no creativeness.
    Under a prescriptive system of curriculum, student testing, and teacher assessment (...) the weakest teachers were given a system to which they could readily conform. (Kohn)

    A concern that is brought up in defense of Standardized testing is the fact that since we are a democratic society and we thrive on feedback. However in defense, an article written by Alfie Kohn commented by noting that the results In which are received on behalf of standardized testing only display the information the students are displaying, versus the information that they are actually grasping. Therefore, the feedback as a community that we are receiving is in fact not as effective as we portray it to be.

    If the public often seems interested in test results, it may be partly because of our cultural penchant for attaching numbers to things. Any aspect of learning (or life) that appears in numerical form seems reassuringly scientific; if the numbers are getting larger over time, we must be making progress. Concepts such as intrinsic motivation and intellectual exploration are difficult for some minds to grasp, whereas test scores, like sales figures or votes, can be calculated and tracked and used to define success and failure. Broadly speaking, it is easier to measure efficiency than effectiveness, easier to rate how well we're doing something than to ask whether what we're doing makes sense. Not everyone realizes that the process of coming to understand ideas in a classroom is not always linear or quantifiable—or, in fact, that "measurable outcomes may be the least significant results of learning." (Kohn)
    In addition to the concern of the type of feedback we as a society are thriving to receive, another huge flaw in this form of testing is the lack of creativity that the test allows the students to display. Although there is a set curriculum that the students and teachers are aware of for this actual test, a big issue is still in place, as some students will do exceptionally well on this type of test and others will do terrible. Which goes back to the facts that every student learns and retains information differently so if we are testing each student the same exact way, as if they are all robots then our reality will turn out the way that it currently Is, where few do well and majority score in the lower percentiles. Which brings us back to point one of why this form of testing should either be altered to benefit the majority, or removed and replaced with some other method of testing. In the statement below the author identifies a primary example of why standardized tests are not powerful in their motives.
    By creating tests that only allow you to display your knowledge in one way and only allow you to display one form of knowledge at all, the students will practically be learning to pass these tests versus actually learning, as there is no enthusiasm behind their reasons of learning.

    No amount of extrinsic motivation to do something can compensate for an absence of genuine enthusiasm. (Kohn)

    Following the trend of that previous statement, this test as declared before is one that many students lack interest in taking. Once their interest is gone, the materials they have learned will have a smaller chance of being retained, resulting in an all around loss of knowledge.
    Furthermore, extrinsic motivation is not merely different or inferior; it's corrosive. That is, it rends to undermine intrinsic motivation. Under most real-life conditions, these two forms of motivation are likely to be reciprocally related. Someone acting to avoid a punishment is apt to lose interest in that which he was threatened into doing. Teaching and learning alike come to be seen as less appealing when someone has a gun to your head.( Kohn)
    Before this form of testing became so powerful, there was indeed room for error and still acceptance. However, in today’s generation, with the amount of influence that these standardized tests (ACT, SAT etc.) have on your after high career, the amount of stress it has on the students is unbearable. Knowing that this test is one of the determining factors towards your college life has to be one of the scariest things that anyone who is set on attending college could endure.

    Given the information regarding standardized testing and the pros and cons of the tests and what the initial intentions are, it comes to the conclusion that this test is either going to serve the students or serve the society. With little room for change in order to satisfy both sides, it is an issue that will take years to conclude. Without having the option of including creativity, individualism or originality to be displayed, it places the students in a predicament, in which they either conform to the standards in which the assessment craves, or they contribute personal characteristics and hope for a decent outcome, while anticipating the worst.

    1.How can i lengthen my essay in order to meet the page requirement and still stay on topic?
    2. What words can I use instead of constantly repeating myself by saying "Standardized testing"
    3. How should I introduce my quotes from the article in the previous paragraph?

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    Jasmine Blackwell Assignment #4 Empty Re: Jasmine Blackwell Assignment #4

    Post  C.HAMMER on Fri Feb 24, 2012 11:14 pm

    1.How can i lengthen my essay in order to meet the page requirement and still stay on topic?
    2. What words can I use instead of constantly repeating myself by saying "Standardized testing"
    3. How should I introduce my quotes from the article in the previous paragraph?

    1) I would use quotes to make the paper longer and give more of your opinion on the paper
    2) there are really no alternatives for standardized testing Sad
    3) You could state the authors name and how it relates to what they said earlier

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