Standardized Testing

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by KnightWriter, Apr 8, 2002.

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  1. Greesha Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Mar 4, 2002
    star 3
    I think standardized tests are a waste of time. The teachers spend so much time telling us how to take them and explaining how the questions will be worded in a confusing way, and we could have instead been learning something worthwhile.
  2. Dacks Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Nov 3, 2001
    star 2
    I'm just bitter because I didn't get in to my university of choice, and it was because of money. Here's why:

    Let's say you're applying to a high level US university. During the application process, your income is ignored, whether you're American or International. If you are accepted, they then look at your income and will make it reasonable for you to attend university. The only exception to this rule is if you are Canadian, in which case your income is taken into consideration during the application process. It's part of the Canadian gov't deal to slow down the infamous "brain drain" to US schools of top Canadian students.
  3. JediOverlord Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 28, 2000
    star 5
    The thing I hated about standardizing testing was that I failed math and reading in the 10th grade and had to go in on Saturday mornings throughout my junior and senior years of high school to take it over again. Fortuently,I passed,even though math wasn't my strong suit.

    You see,in my home state of Michigan,the standardized test is the MEAP,and it is taken in the fourth,seventh,and tenth grades,and the results determine how much funding the school got and all that jazz. And you know what gets me about those tests? You have to use a number two pencil. No number 1,or 3,but a 2. Just what kind of anal thing is that?

  4. JM-Anakin-Solo Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 18, 2002
    star 4
    Standardized testing can be good, like the SATs and ACTs. Even tests like TAAS (In Texas) could be good, but not when time is wasted in class learning how to take the test.

    In Texas the schools get paid for each student that passes the TAAS and the amount they get paid is in relation to how well the student does. In the lower elementary grades, in Texas, you are not taught by a regular curriculum. Instead, you are taught for months how to take the TAAS test and how to pass it.

    I think that is wrong because there is so much more you can be learning and if the teachers are doing there jobs well enough you will pass the TAAS without learning how to take it. If you are in regular and remedial classes in high school, thanks God I wasn't, then you continued to prepare for the TAAS Exit Level test.

    In Texas you have to pass the TAAS Exit Level in order to graduate. Of course, if you can't pass the TAAS you probably aren't ready to graduate anyway. I don't have a problem with having to pass a test to graduate, but I do have a problem when that is the only thing being taught. The teachers should have to stick to a curiculum and not teach for the whole year how to take a friggin test.

    That's just MHO. :D
  5. Dark Lady Mara Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 19, 1999
    star 7
    Schools get paid when their students score better? That's ridiculous. The schools where the students aren't doing well are the ones that need the resources and attention. Can I guess this is a racial issue?

    Leave it to Texas. [face_plain]
  6. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 8
  7. Garli Pesan Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 13, 2000
    star 4
    Sorry I didn't see your thread, but it was over a month old. :)
  8. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 8
    It's okay :). Do you mind continuing discussion here, or would you prefer a new thread?
  9. Maveric Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 17, 1999
    star 4
    I agree, the GRE does not measure how one will do in grad school. When I took it the first time, I have never taken the SAT or ACT b/c I had a free ride at the local Junior College and they did not require it. I had no idea what to expect, and came in 10 points to low to get accepted into my Masters program. I got in on a provisionary status and eventually graduated with a 3.87 GPA.

    More and more colleges are dispensing with the GRE as a major component of acceptance to grad school. When I took it again for my Ph.D. program, they told me that I just had to have an updated one on file, and not to worry about the score.

    I really don't think that there exists a way to accurately measure how someone will do in college or grad school in the form of one test.
  10. Maveric Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 17, 1999
    star 4
    I did not see the post about the TAAS earlier, therefore I will address it now. Teachers are not supposed to teach towards the TAAS, and are threatend not to do it. However, it still occurs at an alarming rate.

    I have never before heard of the monetary aspect of the TAAS success ratio, but schools can lose their status as an accredited school if students do too poorly.

    This has been the last year for the TAAS, everyone in every branch of education realizes that it is a flawed system and the new test to me implemented this fall should fix those shortcomings.
  11. gwaernardel Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 5, 2001
    star 4
    They had something similar in Minnesota. I'm told it's different now, but when I was in high school we had to pass a test in 8th and 10th grade. The 8th grade test was freakishly easy. I think maybe two people in my class didn't pass it. It was the type of test that if you didn't pass, you really shouldn't be in the 8th grade to begin with.

    The 10th grade test, however, was a writing test. You had a certain style that you had to write in: Introductory paragraph, three supporting paragraphs, and a concluding paragraph. The teachers taught that this was the style we had to write in. We had practice tests and our teacher would actually make us write on these pieces of paper with big boxes drawn around where every paragraph was supposed to go. It was humiliating. I fail to see how tests like this can show anything except how good of a mindless drone you are.

    I think that tests like the ACT aren't all that bad. They show how well you take tests and perform under pressure, which is a lot of what your grades in college are based on.
  12. MASTER_OBI-DAN Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2002
    star 4
    Hey guys! :D Here is a section of an essay that I wrote a few months ago for my Educational Psychology course at university. It has a Canadian perspective (not the only one though) and it also has some of the most recent research and key authorities behind it. However, I stress that this is a heavy read as it is laden with a lot of academic terms/sources and it is a straight "cut & paste" from the original document. Thus, only those of you who are into this thread on a hardcore level may want to read it. Nonetheless, I think it might be a valuable addition to this thread. Cheers. :D

    Dan

    ****************

    3C) THE FLAWED NATURE OF ?HIGH-STAKES?, STANDARDIZED TESTS.

    Without a doubt, Alfie Kohn, the author of eight books including The Case against Standardized Testing, is one of the world?s foremost advocates against the drive against ?high-stakes?, standardized testing. As such, some of his profound criticisms of this movement do deserve mention here. At the core of his arguments, Kohn believes that standardized tests can be, and are more often than not, biased.

    For Kohn, one of most significant reasons why standardized testing is ?unfair because the questions require a set of knowledge and skills more likely to be possessed by children from a privileged background.? (Kohn, 2000, pg. 46) According to Kohn, ?The discriminatory effect is particularly pronounced with norm-referenced tests, where the imperative to spread out the scores often produces questions that tap knowledge gained outside of school.? Although it is important to note that ?Almost every standardized achievement test used in Canada is criterion-referenced,? (Woolfolk, Winne, Perry, 2000, pg. 507) in direct contrast to the US?s prevalent use of norm-referenced tests like the SATs, I would argue that Kohn?s criticism is still valid despite being somewhat diminished. In fact, Kohn himself supports this supposition, as he states in an earlier essay, ?Still, it is hard to deny that high-stakes testing, even when the tests aren't norm-referenced, is ultimately about sorting.? (Kohn, 2000, pg. 46) Such outside knowledge that is exploited for sorting purposes ?is more likely to be acquired by students whose parents are affluent and well educated, students who have attended a good preschool, own a computer, overhear thoughtful conversations about current events, are taken on interesting field trips, and so on.? (Kohn, 2002, pg. 252) In this way, as W. James Popham has argued, standardized tests provide a powerful advantage to students, who come from affluent and well-educated families, and who have access to ?stimulus-rich environments.? (Popham, 1999, pg. 9) As he states, ?Thus, it?s more than a little ironic to rely on biased tests to ?close the gap? between rich and poor.?

    On a related note, Popham believes the problem what he calls ?confounded causation? (Popham, 1999, pg. 10) in relation to standardized tests of any kind, proves that they should not be used to measure educational quality ever. According to Popham, ?The problem of confounded causation involves three factors that contribute to students' scores on standardized achievement tests: (1) what's taught in school, (2) a student's native intellectual ability, and (3) a student's out-of-school learning.? The first causation is obviously valid. As Kohn has argued, the third causation is not valid. For Popham, the second, a student's native intellectual ability, should not be viewed as valid either. As Popham aptly notes, I wish I believed that all children were born with identical intellectual abilities, but I don't. Some kids were luckier at gene-pool time. Some children, from birth, will find it easier to mess around with mathematics than will others. Some kids, from birth, will have an easier time with verbal matters than will others. (Popham, 1999, pg. 6)

    Indeed, this quotation points directly to Howard Gardiner?s theory of multiple intelligences, the idea that ?individuals often excel in one of these seven areas but have no remarkab
  13. DARTHPIGFEET Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 24, 2001
    star 4
    I have and will always be against standardized Testing. SAT, ACT, CPT, GRE DO NOT show any persons full compacity to go on to further education. It's wrong to compare a student who made a 1000 on the SAT and overlook them for someone who scored a 1400.

    I knew people who didn't study for the SAT and scored a 1500 and were given scholarships galore only to flunk out their first semester, when I who didn't score good was left with nothing except myself paying my own way and just prooving all those SOB's wrong.

    Sure some students who are super smart and score really good deserve to get all the money and such, however a test which only tests English and Math and determines so peoples future incomes and such is wrong. Some students like myself just don't test well with Multiple Choice tests or tests like the SAT, rather I worked wonders with Essay tests and critical thinking exams. Plus a persons character is always overlooked and not taken seriously. Like I said I knew people who took the SAT and didn't study and just took the exam and didn't care what they scored and they scored big. Then someone like me who doesn't score good is kept down and they could care less about my determination or hard work ethic.
  14. Garli Pesan Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 13, 2000
    star 4
    Well for the sake of argument, they do have to make a determinatin based on something. Espcally colleges.

    But for most grad programs (that I know about) all they care about is how you've spent your summers of college. If you you research, and the person you worked for likes you, then it's all good.

    I'm just bitter I had to pay money to take a test that has nothing to do with anything I've learned in college.
  15. DARTHPIGFEET Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 24, 2001
    star 4
    "I'm just bitter I had to pay money to take a test that has nothing to do with anything I've learned in college"

    Exactly. What the heck does the GRE proof anyway. I studied for one month, because I knew if I studied for months on end or just a few weeks that I would get the same score. So I pay 110 for the luck of the draw. Thank God I somehow scored good enough based off of guessing I did during the test so that I could get into the Grad program.
  16. celera Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 13, 2002
    star 2
    I thought New Jersey tests were evil, it's unfortunate how much my fellow students in Florida and Texas suffer. What an SOB that Jeb Bush is.

    In NJ, you have to take the ESPA in 4th grade. I don't remember my experience taking it but I vividly remember 8th grade where you have to take GEPA. All through middle school, they give you practice dittos. When you get to 8th grade, there's a lot of preparation going into it. They give you impromptu essays and stuff like that. Except for the math(my weakest subject)part, it was ridiculously easy. I got Advanced in English and science and Proficient in math. My school system uses the test as one factor to determine if you would go to a regular, accelerated or honors class(honors is the highest).

    If you're a Jersey high school student, you have to pass the HSPA in junior year to graduate. If you don't pass at least one of the sections(there's English and math), you have to take the basic classes of those subjects specifically designed to teach the test in senior year. Then you have to pass the HSPT. You take the practice tests freshman and sophomore years. If you don't do well sophomore year, you take a basic math/English course. I think you have to give up your elective for that or something. I wish McGreevey would spend time fixing up the testing system instead of condemning other people to make himself look better. I guess all our politicians now are idiots.
  17. Cailina Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 18, 1999
    star 4
    The most ignorant question ever on a standardized test. Think in realistic terms.

    From a test we took sophmore year(Called the Terra Novas) to make sure we don't fail the HSPA:

    "What is -7 + 2?

    a. 9
    b. 5
    c. -5
    d. -9
    e. none of the above."

    They think that a SAT score of 1600 is absolutely necessary to go to a good college, and that if they don't prep like crazy, their entire lives will be ruined.

    But it is! I mean I really need to retake my 1450! :( It's tragicly horrible and I'll never get into my top choice with that score! ;)

    Celera as a NJ Senior(well in september) I thought I'd correct one thing: you don't take the HSPA and the HSPT, the HSPA is the new version of the test which replaced the HSPT. Having now taken it I must say that I really have no idea how people fail it...
  18. Coolguy4522 Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Dec 21, 2000
    star 4
    I took the TAAS and did well on it, even though I never studied. It turned out it didn't matter because I ended up moving to another state.

    It isn't the test I have a problem with. If you can't pass it, you shouldn't graduate from high school. The problem is that the teachers teach to the test. My "pre-AP" english class was a total waste of time, as the teacher seemed to be mentally unstable as her husband had cancer or something. The teachers just put stuff on the overhead and try and get everyone to pass it, and waste time.
  19. celera Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 13, 2002
    star 2
    You mean if you fail the test junior year(I don't know how you do it), you just have to take the HSPA the year after?
  20. Maveric Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 17, 1999
    star 4
    Coolguy4522

    What really gets annoying is that we, in Texas, have a TAAS test that you have to take to get out of high school and then a TASP test you have to take to get into college. Students who fail a portion of the TASP have to take developmental classes to gain skills they were supposed to get in high school. They get no credit for this towards their college career, and must pass the TASP before gaining more than 12 hours.

    Each year one BILLION dollars is wasted in colleges in developmental courses. Had these students learned these skills in high school, that money could be put to better use than it is now.
  21. celera Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 13, 2002
    star 2
    Move to Jersey then. There might be ozone problems every summer but at least you don't have to take the college test, which is completely unnecessary. Or write a letter to your state's Education department telling them colleges have a test of their own called the SAT'S.
  22. SkywalkerSolo Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 26, 2002
    star 3
    In California we have standardizes tests for every grade called SAT 9's. Then we have special course-specific standardized tests, the Golden State Exams (GSE's). And starting with my class (2004) Freshmen year we all had to take another stadardized test that states whether or not you graduate, the High School Exit Exams (HSEE's) If you don't pass freshmen year you basically keep testing until you do. Even if you have to be held back.

    Standardized tests don't test what you learn. There is no fair way to compare how individual students do. I know people who have gone through a test and compeletly guessed on every question or they've made pretty designs with the dots. It's just a stuoid excuse to spend money and make the students work harder in competition with eachother to make your state look better. I've pretty much said all I think. -Sky
  23. Cailina Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 18, 1999
    star 4
    You mean if you fail the test junior year(I don't know how you do it), you just have to take the HSPA the year after?

    Hmmm I'm not sure but I guess if you fail the HSPA junior year than you retake it Senior year. I know you can't graduate untill you pass it. Ah well all I have left to say is that I'm glad I'm done with that pathetic excuse for a test. :)
  24. alhana_antilles Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Aug 16, 2002
    star 3
    As for the Category 2 tests, I am not sure about these. I think they are a good idea because they make schools somewhat accountable for teaching properly. But at the same time they cause teachers to teach differently and the like so they are a negative influence as well.

    So I think they should be eliminated until the method for implementing them is improved, because right now I think they are serving as a negative.


    These tests are not doing any good. Here in MA we are required to take and pass the MCAS to graduate. If we fail we don't get a diploma. The thing about this test is that it is said to be one of (if not) the hardest state standardized test in the US. What's so stupid about it is that it's there so the state can find out what towns are teaching the the state curriculam, etc. It's already been proven by this test that the wealthy towns do well on it and get the 'best' education in MA while the poor towns don't have the benifit of a good education. This is nothing new. Yet instead of helping these poor towns with funding MA is just spending millions of $$ for the MCAS. The result is that students are being taught to pass this test instead of being prepared for college and the world. It's a waste of time and money. if teh state want's to improve it's education all they need to do is fund the towns/schools that can't afford the needed learning materials.
  25. EnforcerSG Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 12, 2001
    star 4
    Here is my opinion. I don?t mind SAT's or similar nationwide tests. I do believe that they are a decent (could be better though) judge of knowledge and ability. If a kid freezes or is not a good test taker, it will show, and that is useful to know in terms of being accepted. If a kid freezes or whatever, how good will he/she be on a job when another 'test' of their ability comes up? I am not good at English, so I won?t comment too much there, but the math should be basic information that anyone knows, and if you don?t, you should not take the positions in college from someone who does know it.

    The state wide tests though are IMHO crap. They make no sense, and from my POV are not put in there for the students sake (if they truly were, then maybe I would think differently). I see the logic in rewarding schools that do well, but in theory, if a school is doing badly, shouldn't in theory giving them funds help them do better? Either way, it would be better not to discriminate between schools like that.
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