Reflective – ChandlerBing

Core Value I. My work demonstrates that I used a variety of social and interactive practices that involve recursive stages of exploration, discovery, conceptualization, and development.

Every individual has their own unique ideas and interpretations of the world. Writing gives people the chance to convey their thoughts to their peers. Constantly, the writer must participate in daily activities and apply it to their writing. While writing my definition argument, I had to use my everyday activities to aid my writing. Every Tuesday this semester, I observed a first-grade classroom with a full hands-on experience. The things I learned helped me write what it means to be an effective teacher. By observing a very effective teacher, I used those moments and inserted portions into my paper. I have found that the more one knows about a topic, the easier it is to convince an audience of a specific point of view.

Definition Argument

Core Value II. My work demonstrates that I placed texts into conversation with one another to create meaning by synthesizing ideas from various discourse communities. 

An integral part of writing is researching other pieces of writing to gain new knowledge on the topic. During my research for my causal argument, I would read an article and connect it to another article that I previously read. My best strategy for finding new sources was to read about ideas in one article and then research a specific topic within that original source. This method has helped me find most of my sources by identifying new questions within a specific text. Essentially, I jumped from article to article finding new ideas from the previous one. Also while reading, I found myself understanding the ideas proposed through an article, at the same time, I created new ideas and arguments on my own. A number of sources played an important role in the causal argument. Combining all of their ideas and my own made for one large argument on why standardized testing has negative effects on the educational community.

Causal Argument

Core Value III. My work demonstrates that I rhetorically analyzed the purpose, audience, and contexts of my own writing and other texts and visual arguments.

Posting to a public blog for this class was the first time I have ever done anything like this. We all had to be mindful of what we posted because anyone with the website address is able to read our work. Before anyone begins the writing process, they must decide who their audience will be. The visual rhetoric assignment taught all of us how to rhetorically analyze. As writers, it is imperative that we describe with such detail so that the audience create a mental image while reading. This allows the reader to retain more information about the topic. While I was writing the visual rhetoric, I must have watched the 30-second ad 1,000 times. I described every second of the video with so many visual details until I could read it and see the commercial in my mind. If the audience can mentally view the scene the writer is describing; the reader will most likely never forget what they have read.

Visual Rhetoric

Core Value IV: My work demonstrates that I have met the expectations of academic writing by locating, evaluating, and incorporating illustrations and evidence to support my own ideas and interpretations.

I chose the topic of my research paper because of all the opinions I kept on the subject of standardized testing. I found it to be an interesting subject in which I felt strongly about. Of course, I only had my opinions. The more I researched and read other points of view, the stronger I felt on my position. Reading about the ideas and experiences of educators really helped in supporting my thesis. To bring everything together, I would introduce my audience to one of my source’s experience, and then explain the event in my own words and add my opinion. I could not have manufactured such writing without the knowledge of other professionals.

Research Position Paper

Core Value V. My work demonstrates that I respect my ethical responsibility to represent complex ideas fairly and to the sources of my information with appropriate citation. 

Not citing someone else’s ideas is not only unethical, but also disrespectful to the original author. My annotated bibliography demonstrates true academic integrity because of how much I explain about each source. I explicitly recognize the owners of the ideas that I used in my research. Writers must understand the negative connotations that come with plagiarizing. Not only do students represent themselves, but they represent their university as well. Plagiarizing can lead to serious sanctions such as expulsion. As a writer, I never intend on taking another author’s idea and crediting it as my own.

Annotated Bibliography

 

Annotated Bib – ChandlerBing

10 Big Advantages and Disadvantages of Standardized Testing. Conncectusfund.org. Connect US Fund. Accessed 28 Nov. 2017.

Background: There are numerous benefits as well as disadvantages when it comes to standardized testing. Whether it be that the questions are too generalized or that sometimes students are not in the effective state of mind on test day. These disadvantages aid my argument on how standardized testing stunts academic growth.

How I used it: I did not use this as an in-depth source mainly because it only pointed out a few basic facts about testing. Those basic ideas helped me find out what questions I should be looking for the answers to. The main use for this source was to further my research. It has lead me to many other sources to which I have used more predominantly.

Alcocer, Paulina. “History of Standardized Testing in the United States.” National Education Association. Accessed 1 Dec. 2017.

Background: The very beginnings of standardized testing starting around 1838. Educators around the US began to render new ideas to measure the knowledge of students. Written exams replaced oral exams when the primary purpose of education shifted from educating the elite class to educating the mass population. These tests were designed to measure the educational capabilities of students in the United States. Gradually, the intention changed, standardized testing became a way to evaluate teacher and school performance to punish schools whose test results were poor and to reward those schools with high performance scores.

How I used it: One of my arguments is how once, standardized testing was an effective way to evaluate students. Today, the primary focus of testing is to make money based decisions on the basis of test scores. A timeline of the history of standardized testing has allowed me to clearly see this important shift.

Brooks, Martin. Brooks, Jacqueline. “The Courage to Be Constructivist.” The Constructivist Classroom. vol. 57, no. 3, 1999, pp. 18-24.                http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/nov99/vol57/num03/The-Courage-to-Be-Constructivist.aspx. Accessed 28 Nov. 2017.

Background: The constructivist style of teaching proves to be the most effective method of educating. Ideas, such as challenging the supposition of students, teaching broad concepts and valuing student opinions, are all central to the primary goal of constructivist teachers. Learning is a convoluted process in which people absorb new information to either alter their perspective of the surrounding world or not. Constructivist teachers keep relevant facts and information in their educational toolbox as to keep the minds of students engaged in classroom activity. Creativity and free thinking are lost in a world of standard assessment, forcing students to be tested on material that does not positively impact their education. Standardized testing scores the end rather than the journey of learning. Each student has a different background of knowledge; therefore, everyone learns at different rates. There needs to be a shift from students learning the same curriculum to analyzing individual student needs in the classroom.

How I used it: To understand the issues revolving standardized testing, the true meaning of an effective educator must be clear. I used the evidence and real-life examples, provided by this source, to determine my stance on the problem. The first line of the educational defense is the teacher. The research surrounding high-stakes testing has its roots in first-hand accounts from educators whom interact with their students the most. This article aided in molding my thesis; I felt that I needed to research the basics of my argument to be able to completely understand the subject.

Brooks, Martin, and Jacqueline Brooks. In Search of Understanding: The Case for Constructivist Classrooms. Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development. 1993. http://www.ascd.org/publications/books/199234/chapters/Honoring-the-Learning-Process.aspx.

Background: The author describes the ideas and experiences around the knowledge of student learning. The process of learning must not be viewed as a ‘one-size fits all’ approach. Each individual mind has witnessed events that have shaped how they view the world; therefore, no two minds are capable of effectively learning using the same method. Because they contain generalized questions, standard assessments stunt creativity, thus defiling the true purpose of education.

How I used it: Again, researching the basics of the argument is imperative to provide me with a solid foundation of knowledge for supporting my argument. These supporting facts assisted me in convincing readers the disadvantages of standardized assessments. Although, the author’s focus was on the meaning of effective learning, the ideas formed central arguments in my research.

Herman, Joan L., and Shari Golan. “Effects of Standardized Testing on Teachers and Learning–Another Look.” (1990).

Background: The cost, in dollars, of standardized testing has risen to the billions. Test results come with high risks, for teachers especially; the classroom then becomes a course on how to pass a test, ultimately distracting the learning of other important material. Less than one-fifth of teachers interviewed in this study, believe that the results of the tests accurately reflect the learning of their students. Even when studies have shown no significant impact on development, test advocates and policy-makers still believe testing has benefits.

How I used it: The arguments introduced, allowed me to formulate pros and cons of high-stakes testing. Herman evaluates the effects that standardized tests have on the learning community; she has found that testing provides no significant impact on educational development. Research has also proved that testing negatively affects teachers and how they conduct their classroom procedures. The article furthered my search for new sources by introducing more specific concepts. The evidence contributes to my final research paper, filling it with more facts to back up my thesis.

Klein, Alyson. “No Child Left Behind: An Overview.Education Week. Editorial Projects in Education Research Center, 2015. Accessed 29 Nov. 2017.

Background: In an effort to hold schools accountable for their student’s performance, the passing of the No Child Left Behind Act in 2001 mandated school districts to administer standardized assessments to all students and report the results to the state. Furthermore, harsh sanctions are put in place for those districts who do not meet the Adequate Yearly Progress. Prior to 2010, it became clear that many schools were not going to meet the required AYP. As of that year, 38 percent of schools in the US failed to meet requirement. The current educational system has bureaucratic tendencies more than focusing on educational growth.

How I used it: The issues of standardized testing focus on math, reading and writing, ultimately narrowing the curriculum. The more time a teacher spends on test prep, the less time they have for other creative inducing subjects. I emphasize this important claim as it strengthens my argument. Hindering critical thinking skills by straying away from social studies, foreign languages and various art subjects, devalues the important life skills one must learn to progress in this world.

Kohn, Alfie. The case against standardized testing: Raising the scores, ruining the schools. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 2000.

Background: Kohn poses arguments that are for standardized testing and then immediately refutes these claims with relevant facts and statistics. Standardized testing has many negative associations with knowledge development. They do not accurately reflect a child’s academic performance; in other words, students who do not pass these exams will be deemed failures. Of course, this will damage the confidence of the student, leaving them to live a life in which they believe they are failures; forever stunting the creative and educational growth. Kohn introduces a list created by educator Bill Ayers, “Standardized tests can’t measure initiative, creativity, imagination, conceptual thinking, curiosity, effort, irony, judgment, commitment, nuance, good will, ethical reflection, or a host of other valuable dispositions and attributes. What they can measure, and count are isolated skills, specific facts and functions, the least interesting and least significant aspects of learning.” All the skills tests do not emphasize are very important life attributes that will increase the quality of life further down the road.

How I used it: Kohn assisted in my research process heavily. His thorough explanations of the downsides of high-stakes testing offered thought provoking ideas. What helped the most was his ability to refute the counterarguments which gave me a wide view on the subject. I incorporated his knowledge into my research paper to support my thesis. By demonstrating the negative effects, the chances of convincing my audience of my view greatly increases.

“New Jersey State Assessments.” State.nj.us. NJ Department of Education. http://www.state.nj.us/education/assessment/

Background: New Jersey’s Department of Education provides facts about standardized testing. The website includes how they score these tests, what they do with scores, when the tests are administered, and the scores needed to meet graduation requirements. There are numerous tools for students, parents, and teachers.

How I used it: I gained a basic knowledge of standardized testing through this source. Knowing what is at stake is important for emphasizing the fact that everyone involved in testing is under a enormous amount of pressure. My goal was for the audience to see the conditions in which the students are taking the test in. Testing is ineffectively used to determine educational growth.

Simmons, Nicola. “(De)grading the Standardized Test: Can Standardized Testing Evaluate Schools?” Education Canada. vol. 44, no. 3, 2004. Accessed 29 Nov. 2017.

Background: Simmons take and in-depth look at the alleged value of standardized testing. Holding teachers accountable for their student’s achievement is necessary, but testing is not an effective way to measure. Teachers will teach their children how to take a test rather than focus on important subject matter. Telling students not to be creative or make sure you complete the test within the time limit hinder critical thinking and puts a panic on the test taker. Simmons informs readers that the tests pose biased questions that are more designed for privileged kids.

How I used it: These arguments have a strong chance of convincing my readers that standardized testing does not procure the positive results that policy-makers tend to make people believe. By proving these facts, we can comfortably assume that we need to do away with testing.

Research – ChandlerBing

A Quest for Change

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. encapsulates the fundamentals of education. “The function of education is to teach one to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.” Learning is a complex process in which the learner constantly changes their internal understanding of how the world around them functions. The learner, most of the time, is unable to come to conclusions on their own and they need guidance from an effective instructor. In a standardized testing era; the system impedes on students’ ability to learn new information and apply it correctly in their lives. The education system stamps on the concept of seeing the world in anything, other than black and white. When dealing with the possibilities of areas in interests, our learning system blurs out artistic or social intelligences, and focuses on socializing through the subjects of mathematics, literature and the sciences. Teachers and administrators are not to blame for this problem. Students are deprived of humanity; in aspect, everyone is seen as a number. The system doesn’t care about how the students got the score, and the effort it took to get there. All that they look at is the number they stand for. The standardized test movement has corrupted the very nature of education and learning by forcing educators to focus on test-taking skills, such as strict memorization, rather than important concepts; the overall desire to want to learn and understand the subject diminishes. These assessments thwart educational growth because their questions are generalized; they instill fear of failure in students; and they hinder efforts by teachers to improve their pedagogical methods. There must be a more effective system whose primary focus is to further grow the intelligences of the youth and to implement a new evaluation method that measures student improvement throughout their educational career.

To fully understand the issue at hand, one must know what it means to be an effective educator. To be an effective teacher, an educator must be open-minded, positive, organized, and resilient. A student that has an ineffective teacher for one year can set the student back up to three years. Traditional teaching styles have a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach in their curricula. The belief that all students learn at the same pace is simply not true. Each individual student has their own needs and understandings. Some students can understand the material with no problem, others need a push to get their gears turning. There are many different types of students that shine through diverse aspects of learning. For example, a student may understand a chapter of Pre-Calculus simply by reading through their textbook’s chapter. However, their peer may attain the material stronger with a visual, or hands-on approach. Each student has different past experiences that have molded how they learn, therefore, educators must throw away the one-size model and adapt to their student’s needs.

Teachers need to challenge the suppositions of their students for them to develop free thinking. In a middle school classroom, a teacher asked students to read a poem and interpret the first two lines of the poem. The first student gave her answer, but the teacher told her that was not what the author meant. When a second student answered, the teacher reminded her that she was only supposed to interpret the first two lines. When the teacher asked if anyone in the class had other ideas, not one raised their hands. This teacher conveyed to the students that there is one answer and one answer only. And only she knew the correct answer. This learning style hinders creativity, and forces students to think in a black and white matter. After the first two students were told they were wrong, the task became to find out what the instructor thought of the poem, ultimately restricting free thinking.

In a more effective environment, a 9th grade teacher asked his students to evaluate the effects of temperature and muscle movement. The students were given buckets of ice water, gauges to measure finger grip strength, and other various items to help them in their experiments. The teacher then asked a few guiding questions and let the students begin. The teacher walked around the class asking different questions to each group depending on the activities that were being performed. Even when the students were correct in their findings, the teacher challenged these suppositions and asked them to elaborate on how they got to their conclusions. The groups shared their findings with the rest of the class and some students requested to come back later that day and complete their experiments (Brooks). This teacher provided guidance to the students, never giving them the answers and never telling them that they were wrong. These methods used provided the students with a deeper understanding of the material. The student’s interests were high which led them to be more engaged in the lesson and even wanting to return to their experiments at a different time.

The typical American classroom is set up for the teacher to do all the talking. A classroom is no longer revolved around learning and understanding. Moreover, students are restricted to simple memorization, left with no room for creativity or pleasure. Educators jettison information to students and expect them to memorize key points in the lecture. The lectures are almost always in-line with the textbook used for that class. In these classrooms, students learn only one view to complex issues, inhibiting students to view the issue from all aspects of the spectrum. For example, Christopher Columbus is often taught as a respected explorer in search for a new world. The idea that Columbus enslaved thousands of Natives and eradicated most of them by bringing new diseases over, is rarely taught in the classroom (Simmons). Educators must provide students with broad concepts to ponder so that they pose their own questions.

Students must take charge in their own learning. When an instructor stands in front of the classroom and lectures for the whole class period, they are essentially giving students the answers without a clear meaning. Allowing the students to interact with one another provides an effective route to the lead objective. As previously stated, all students bring their own experiences with them to the classroom. In one classroom, students were put in groups of five or six to discuss artifacts from Egypt. As the students examined the artifact, they discussed the possibilities of the different functions these objects may possess. The students were understanding the main function of the object because they were all bringing their past experiences to the light. Essentially, these students were teaching each other, working together toward a common goal.

Evaluation of student learning is difficult to measure through pen-and-paper assessments. Some students become anxious during a high-stakes test, fearing that they will fail. On the other hand, simple interaction with a student in the classroom setting is a more effective way to measure what the student understands about the lesson. In the state of New Jersey, students that graduate in the year 2021 and beyond must achieve passing scores on the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) English 10 and Algebra portions to graduate (NJDOE). The teachers must prepare students for these exams, and by doing so they align their curriculum with concepts most likely to appear on the assessments. The students are just memorizing key concepts to increase their test taking skills.

Traditional teaching styles are a method of the past and have proved to be ineffective. Educators must shift their teaching methods to a more effective standard. Students should be encouraged to deeply understand the material instead of memorizing terms. This allows students to apply learned concepts in the classroom to their everyday lives. Their backgrounds form who they are as a learner and educators need to adapt their curriculum to challenge student supposition and promote creativity along with free thinking. As an educator, it is their job to guide them to the answer. A third-grade student wrote to his teacher, “You are like the North Star for the class. You don’t tell us where to go, but you help us find our way (Brooks).”

Standardized testing in the United States predates the Civil War in 1861. Once a system that evaluated student intelligence, has transformed into a politically-driven method of evaluating teachers and schools which results in a plethora of rewards and punishments based on test results (Alcocer). States determine whether a school is fulfilling the responsibility of effective teaching or not by the results of generalized pen-and-paper tests in which all students are expected to complete, regardless of their learning capabilities. The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, mandates that schools measure and account for the performance of their students. The law also mandates schools to administer standardized tests and report the results to the state. Based on the test results, harsh sanctions are put in place for those school districts that do not meet the “adequate yearly progress,” or AYP; a numerical value that defines student performance (Klein).

Standardized assessments are created from an outside source other than the school that is administering them (Kohn). Many educators and experts work tirelessly to develop these assessments, but what they do not understand is that each student has their own method of learning. Test developers do not witness the learning process of an individual in a classroom. So how can they truly be aware of how each student learns? They cannot. Teachers interact with students every single day, and they know and understand what methods positively impact their students.

Standardized means all students in the state must take the same assessment. The questions do not evaluate the skills of the students simply because the questions are vague (ConnectUS). To effectively learn, the mind must be challenged. Basic skills questions do not appropriately measure a student’s learning. When developing these tests, an important factor is not considered; each student learns at a different pace. Every brain is different from the next, it absorbs information differently for everyone. Different students implement their own learning method that individually caters to them. In the current classroom model, all students learn the same thing at the same pace. If one student falls behind, they must catch up because the rest of the class is moving on with the curriculum. While the rest of the class moves on, this child still does not understand the material but is required to move through the course. This overwhelming environment and panic negatively impacts the learning community.

Another critique on standardized testing, emphasizes the belief that tests are by procedure for the sole purpose of holding schools and teachers accountable for their student’s performance. Teachers abandon their original curriculum to prepare for the high-stake test. The school environment is shifting their main focus on their employees, not the learning rate of their students. Spending more time on test related subjects, affects the time spent on other creative concentrations like social studies and the arts (Simmons). Some school districts give their students assessments regarding the more creative subjects, although not a common practice. The questions are usually compiled with vague facts and definitions. As Kohn stated, “[Standardized tests] aren’t designed to tell who has learned to think like a scientist or a historian; they’re designed to tell who can recite the four stages of mitosis or the four freedoms mentioned by Franklin Roosevelt.” In other words, they damage the true intention of education by limiting creativity and refraining from teaching important life skills.

Subsequently, the fact that these tests are timed, raises questions about whether these assessments accurately reflect the learning of the students. It does not matter to the tests if this student excels in the classroom, standardized tests require memorization skills. Does this mean this student unintelligible? Absolutely not; there is a significant difference between being smart and knowing a lot of stuff. One student could have a photographic memory and score high on the exam, but does not fully understand the concepts she was taught. On the other hand, a student might perform exceptionally on class projects/assignments, and receive a low score on the exam. Yet, the system expects students to recall all the information they have learned over the year and apply this loose knowledge with a time limit involved. The stress of standardized testing falls upon the student as they fear they will not pass. Furthermore, no student should take a high-stakes test in an anxious state. The results of a test, where a student “blanks” because of test anxiety, do not reflect the student’s true performance; thus, creating a blurred snapshot of that students’ academic achievements.

Because of the punishments and rewards that come with the accountability program, teachers become heavily focused on improving their students test scores. Teachers spend countless hours obsessing over the content of the tests; further distracting from other subject areas. Any student will admit, their teacher has told them for multiple choice questions, “there are four choices that all may seem to be the right answer, but only one is the true answer.” “Don’t be too creative. Don’t think too hard. Only give them what they want. Pace yourself (Simmons).” These phrases are becoming too frequent and they hinder the creativity and critical thinking necessary for effective learning. Creative children are stumped when they see the generalized questions on the assessments. It teaches them that there is only one viable answer and there is no room for creativity. Educator Bill Ayers evaluates standardized testing, “Standardized tests can’t measure initiative, creativity, imagination, conceptual thinking, curiosity, effort, irony, judgment, commitment, nuance, good will, ethical reflection, or a host of other valuable dispositions and attributes. What they can measure, and count are isolated skills, specific facts and functions, the least interesting and least significant aspects of learning.” High-stakes exams do not value the critical skills needed to be successful in the world. Promoting creativity allows people to pose thought provoking questions to enhance their knowledge of the world. Perhaps, instead of teaching key terms and definitions, an educator should teach students how to make rightful decisions on their own. These standards stray far from the primary purpose of the educational platform.

These tests are administered to thousands of students. It is unlikely that every single student can be present on test day. Under these circumstances, it is counterintuitive to believe that a child can demonstrate their full capabilities of what they have learned. A student in South Carolina responded to standardized tests by saying, “All they care about is the test; they don’t care if we learn anything (Simmons).” Learning success should be valued more than success on tests.

A handful of students do not show much concern for the tests and do not fully understand the consequences. Students fill out the bubbles on the exam sheet so that they form a picture, thus getting the answers marked incorrect. These students are then placed in a low-level class for the following years of their educational career. Apparently, results from a single exam are enough evidence to show the full capabilities of students, even when they lack care for the assessments (Kohn). The educational future of children relies heavily on these exams. If they do not perform adequately, they will be placed in remedial classes. The nature of this situation causes an uneasy feeling; misplacing these students who do not belong in the slower paced classes, can deter them from their route of success.

Unfortunately, standardized testing is the easiest form of holding teachers accountable for their students. Test results are published in newspapers, and even real estate listings provide the most recent test scores. Valuing these numerical values of knowledge has become the norm in the US. It is agreed that teachers should absolutely be held accountable, but exams that measure the intelligence in one day just seem ineffective. With advancements in technology today, it is possible to implement a method of measuring what students learn at the same time, hold educators accountable for their teaching. Each student learns in different ways; effective learning occurs when educators cater to individual students rather than the class in whole. A large database can be created with individual portfolios for each student. This way, educators can clearly see how a student has performed academically throughout their educational career. This method values each student as one individual instead of the entire student body which, in return, allows teachers to adapt to each child. The improvement over the course of one year would be more valuable to educators and school districts rather than the results from a test only given twice a year. With this idea, the journey of learning proves to be more important than the end results. The instructor can create projects and in-class assignments to highlight creativity and free thinking.

Politics and money are much too involved in education today. By using high-stakes testing to hold teachers accountable for their students, and to reward and punish them based on test results, the politically-motivated system distracts educators from teaching creative subjects that students may be interested in. Students who excel, use past experiences to critically view the world surrounding them. Standardized testing interrupts that creativity. This current system must be abandoned before another student gets left behind by the “test-prep” teaching model mandated by No Child Left Behind.

Works Cited

10 Big Advantages and Disadvantages of Standardized Testing. Conncectusfund.org. Connect US Fund. Accessed 28 Nov. 2017

Alcocer, Paulina. “History of Standardized Testing in the United States.” National Education Association. Accessed 1 Dec. 2017.

Brooks, Martin. Brooks, Jacqueline. “The Courage to Be Constructivist.” The Constructivist Classroom. vol. 57, no. 3, 1999, pp. 18-24.

http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/nov99/vol57/num03/The-Courage-to-Be-Constructivist.aspx. Accessed 28 Nov. 2017.

Brooks, Martin, and Jacqueline Brooks. In Search of Understanding: The Case for Constructivist Classrooms. Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development. 1993. http://www.ascd.org/publications/books/199234/chapters/Honoring-the-Learning-Process.aspx.

Herman, Joan L., and Shari Golan. “Effects of Standardized Testing on Teachers and Learning–Another Look.” (1990).

Klein, Alyson. “No Child Left Behind: An Overview.Education Week. Editorial Projects in Education Research Center, 2015. Accessed 29 Nov. 2017.

Kohn, Alfie. The case against standardized testing: Raising the scores, ruining the schools. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 2000.

New Jersey State Assessments.State.nj.us. NJ Department of Education. http://www.state.nj.us/education/assessment/

Simmons, Nicola. “(De)grading the Standardized Test: Can Standardized Testing Evaluate Schools?” Education Canada. vol. 44, no. 3, 2004. Accessed 29 Nov. 2017.

Causal Rewrite – ChandlerBing

Frequent testing impedes on students’ ability to learn new information and apply it correctly in their lives. Furthermore, subjects mainly focused on high-stakes tests are math, reading and writing; leaving school districts to stray away from other important subjects such as social studies, the arts and foreign language. The education system stamps on the concept of seeing the world in anything, other than black and white. When dealing with the possibilities of areas in interests, our learning system blurs out artistic or social intelligences, and focuses on socializing through subjects heavily based of mathematics, literature and the sciences. Teachers and administrators are not to blame. The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, mandates that schools measure and account for the performance of their students. Moreover, harsh sanctions are put in place for those school districts that do not meet the “adequate yearly progress,” or AYP; a numerical value that defines student performance. The law also mandates schools to administer standardized tests and report the results to the state. Students are deprived of humanity; in aspect, everyone is seen as a number. The system doesn’t care about how the students got the score, and the effort it took to get there. All that they look at is the number they stand for. The standardized test movement has corrupted the very nature of education and learning by forcing educators to focus on test-taking skills, such as strict memorization, rather than important concepts, the overall desire to want to learn and understand the subject. These assessments thwart educational growth because their questions are generalized; they instill fear of failure in students; and they hinder efforts by teachers to improve their pedagogical methods.

The original intent for high-stakes testing was to sort the massive inflow of students at the turn of the century. Slowly, they became a way to evaluate schools and their efficiency. States determine whether a school is fulfilling the responsibility of effective teaching or not by the results of generalized pen-and-paper tests in which all students are expected to complete, regardless of their learning capabilities. Standardized assessments are created from an outside source other than the school that is administering them. Many educators and experts work tirelessly to develop these assessments, but what they do not understand is that each student has their own method of learning. Test developers do not witness the learning process of an individual in a classroom. So how can they truly be aware of how each student learns? They cannot. Teachers interact with students every single day, and they know and understand what works best for their students.

Standardized means all students in the state must take the same assessment. The questions do not evaluate the skills of the students simply because the questions are vague. To effectively learn, the mind must be challenged. Basic skills questions do not appropriately measure a student’s learning. When developing these tests, an important factor is not considered; each student learns at a different pace. Every brain is different from the next, it absorbs information differently for everyone. Different students implement their own learning method that individually caters to them. All students in a classroom learn the same thing at the same pace. If one student falls behind, they must catch up because the rest of the class is moving on with the curriculum. This overwhelming environment and panic negatively impacts the learning community.

Another critique on standardized testing, emphasizes the belief that tests are by procedure for the sole purpose of holding schools and teachers accountable for their student’s performance. Teachers abandon their original curriculum to prepare for the high-stake test. The school environment is shifting their main focus on their employees, not the learning rate of their students. Spending more time on test related subjects, affects the time spent on other creative concentrations like social studies and the arts.

School districts must pay the company that manufactures the assessments. In a utopian reality, such money driven evaluations would not be considered. The primary goal should be to expose the minds of the youth to new ideas and provide deep explanations of the world around them.

Testing becomes the focus in a classroom. Teachers spend countless hours obsessing over the content of the tests; further distracting from other subject areas. Any student will admit, their teacher has told them for multiple choice questions, “there are four choices that all may seem to be the right answer, but only one is the true answer.” “Don’t be too creative. Don’t think too hard. Only give them what they want. Pace yourself.” These phrases are becoming too frequent and they hinder the creativity and critical thinking necessary for effective learning. Creative children are stumped when they see the generalized questions on the assessments. It teaches them that there is only one viable answer and there is no room for creativity. Standardized tests look at the final step rather than the learning journey itself.

A more effective way to measure student learning would be to measure their improvement through classroom assignments. The instructor can create projects to highlight creativity and free thinking. The stress of standardized testing falls upon the student as they fear they will not pass. Furthermore, no student should take a high-stakes test in an anxious state. The results of a test, where a student “blanks” because of test anxiety, do not reflect the student’s true performance; thus, creating a blurred snapshot of that students’ academic achievements.

These tests are administered to thousands of students. It is unlikely that every single student can be present on test day. Under these circumstances, it is counterintuitive to believe that a child can demonstrate their full capabilities of what they have learned. A student in South Carolina responded to standardized tests by saying, “All they care about is the test; they don’t care if we learn anything.” Learning success should be valued more than success on tests.

A handful of students do not show much concern for the tests and do not fully understand the consequences. Students fill out the bubbles on the exam sheet so that they form a picture, thus getting the answers marked incorrect. These students are then placed in a low-level class for the following years of their educational career. Apparently, results from a single exam are enough evidence to show the full capabilities of students, even when they lack care for the assessments.

Politics and money are much too involved in education today. By using high-stakes testing to hold teachers accountable for their students, and to reward and punish them based on test results, the politically-motivated system distracts educators from teaching creative subjects that students may be interested in. Students who excel, use past experiences to critically view the world surrounding them. Standardized testing interrupts that creativity. This current system must be abandoned before another student gets left behind by the “test-prep” teaching model mandated by No Child Left Behind.

Works Cited

10 Big Advantages and Disadvantages of Standardized Testing. Conncectusfund.org. Connect US Fund. Accessed 28 Nov. 2017.

Brooks, Martin. Brooks, Jacqueline. “The Courage to Be Constructivist.” The Constructivist Classroom. vol. 57, no. 3, 1999, pp. 18-24. Accessed 28 Nov. 2017.

Herman, Joan L., and Shari Golan. “Effects of Standardized Testing on Teachers and Learning–Another Look.” (1990)

Simmons, Nicola. “(De)grading the Standardized Test: Can Standardized Testing Evaluate Schools?”Education Canada. vol. 44, no. 3, 2004. Accessed 29 Nov. 2017. 

Causal Argument – ChandlerBing

Frequent testing impedes on students’ ability to learn new information and apply it correctly in their lives. The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, rules that schools are accountable for performance of the students. Moreover, harsh sanctions are put in place for those school districts that do not meet the “adequate yearly progress,” or AYP. The act also requires schools to administer standardized tests and report the results to the state. Subjects such as math, reading and writing are commonly found on these assessments, causing school districts to stray away from other important subjects i.e. social studies, foreign language and the arts. The standardized test movement has changed the very nature of education and learning by forcing educators to focus on test-taking skills rather than important concepts. These assessments do not further contribute to educational growth because they questions are generalized, they instill fear of failure in students, and they do not allow for teachers to update their pedagogical methods.

The original intent for high-stakes testing was to sort the massive inflow of students at the turn of the century. Slowly, they became a way to evaluate schools and their efficiency. States can determine whether a school is fulfilling the responsibility of effective teaching or not by the results of the tests. It makes sense for there to be a way to evaluate if a school is up to state standard, but there needs to be a surefire way to measure student improvement. Standardized assessments are created from an outside source other than the school that is administering them. Many educators and experts work tirelessly to develop these assessments, but what they do not understand is that each student has their own method of learning. Developers of standardized tests are not in the classroom with these students daily. So how can they cater to these individuals? They cannot. Teachers interact with students every single day, and they know and understand what works best for their students.

Since the tests are standardized, all students in the state must take the same assessment. This leads the questions to be general in nature. The questions do not evaluate the skills of the students simply because the questions are vague. When developing these tests, an important factor is not considered; each student learns at a different pace. For English language learners, it becomes difficult to take these tests that are in English. Another critique on standardized testing, emphasizes the belief that tests are procured for the sole purpose of holding schools and teachers accountable for their student’s performance. Teachers abandon their original curriculum to prepare for the high-stake test. This causes teachers to become test-taking instructors instead of meaningful mentors. Test-writers have even admitted that they write questions they know students are unable to answer. This is to create a wide score spread, which makes the test more desirable for a school to purchase and administer. With this mentality, the test scores do not accurately reflect the main curriculum. The main goal should be to expose the minds of the youth to new ideas and provide deep explanations of the world around them. If making money from a test is the goal, it must not even be considered; although it is considered.

Testing becomes the focus in a classroom. Teachers spend countless hours obsessing over the content of the tests. Any student will admit, their teacher has told them for multiple choice questions, “there are four choices that all may seem to be the right answer, but only one is the true answer.” “Don’t be too creative. Don’t think too hard. Only give them what they want. Pace yourself.” These phrases are becoming too frequent and they hinder the creativity and critical thinking necessary for effective learning. Creative children are stumped when they see the questions on the assessments. It teaches them that there is only one viable answer and there is no room for creativity. Standardized tests look at the final step rather than the learning journey. A more effective way to measure student learning would be to measure their improvement through classroom assignments. The instructor can create projects to highlight creativity and free thinking. The stress of standardized testing falls upon the student as they fear they will not pass. No one should take a high-stakes test in an anxious state. These tests are administered to thousands of students. It is unlikely that every single student can be present on test day. There are actual instructions on what to do if a student throws up on a test. Under these circumstances, it is counterintuitive to believe that a child can demonstrate their full capabilities of what they have learned. A student in South Carolina responded to standardized tests by saying, “All they care about is the test; they don’t care if we learn anything.” Learning success should be valued more than success on tests.

A handful of students do not show much concern for the tests and do not fully understand the consequences. Students fill out the bubbles on the exam sheet so that they form a picture, thus getting the answers marked incorrect. These students are then placed in a low-level class for the following years of their educational career. Apparently, results from a single exam are enough evidence to show the full capabilities of students, even when they lack care for the assessments.

High-stakes testing is not causing students to excel in their learning. Standardized tests hold schools and teachers accountable for their students. Rewards and punishments are given based on test results. Politics and money are too much involved in education. Students need to be taught in a way where they want to engage in school activities. When they show interest in a subject, students will excel. Weeks of test preparation distract teachers from teaching other non-tested subjects. Learning is a complicated process where the person uses their past experiences to make inferences of the world surrounding them. Standardized testing lacks creativity; a new way must be implemented to promote critical thinking in today’s students.

 

Works Cited

10 Big Advantages and Disadvantages of Standardized Testing. Conncectusfund.org. Connect US Fund. Accessed 28 Nov. 2017.

Brooks, Martin. Brooks, Jacqueline. “The Courage to Be Constructivist.” The Constructivist Classroom. vol. 57, no. 3, 1999, pp. 18-24. Accessed 28 Nov. 2017.

Herman, Joan L., and Shari Golan. “Effects of Standardized Testing on Teachers and Learning–Another Look.” (1990)

Simmons, Nicola. “(De)grading the Standardized Test: Can Standardized Testing Evaluate Schools?” Education Canada. vol. 44, no. 3, 2004. Accessed 29 Nov. 2017.

 

Definition Argument – ChandlerBing

Learning is a complex process in which the learner constantly changes their internal understanding of how the world around them functions. The learner, most of the time, is unable to come to conclusions on their own and they need guidance from an effective instructor. To be an effective teacher, an educator must be open-minded, positive, organized, and resilient. A student that has an ineffective teacher for one year can set the student back up to three years. Traditional teaching styles have a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach in their curricula. The belief that all students learn at the same pace is simply not true. Each individual student has their own needs and understandings. Some students can understand the material with no problem, others need a push to get their gears turning. There are many different types of students that shine through diverse aspects of learning. For example, a student may understand a chapter of Pre-Calculus simply by reading through their textbook’s chapter. However, their peer may attain the material stronger with a visual, or hands-on approach. Each student has different past experiences that have molded how they learn, therefore, educators must throw away the one-size model and adapt to their student’s needs.

Teachers need to challenge the suppositions of their students for them to develop free thinking. In a middle school classroom, a teacher asked students to read a poem and interpret the first two lines of the poem. The first student gave her answer, but the teacher told her that was not what the author meant. When a second student answered, the teacher reminded her that she was only supposed to interpret the first two lines. When the teacher asked if anyone in the class had other ideas, not one raised their hands. This teacher conveyed to the students that there is one answer and one answer only. And only she knew the correct answer. This learning style hinders creativity, and forces students to think in a black and white matter. After the first two students were told they were wrong, the task became to find out what the instructor thought of the poem, ultimately restricting free thinking.

In a more effective environment, a 9th grade teacher asked his students to evaluate the effects of temperature and muscle movement. The students were given buckets of ice water, gauges to measure finger grip strength, and other various items to help them in their experiments. The teacher then asked a few guiding questions and let the students begin. The teacher walked around the class asking different questions to each group depending on the activities that were being performed. Even when the students were correct in their findings, the teacher challenged these suppositions and asked them to elaborate on how they got to their conclusions. The groups shared their findings with the rest of the class and some students requested to come back later that day and complete their experiments. This teacher provided guidance to the students, never giving them the answers and never telling them that they were wrong. These methods used provided the students with a deeper understanding of the material. The student’s interests were high which led them to be more engaged in the lesson and even wanting to return to their experiments at a different time.

The typical American classroom is set up for the teacher to do all the talking. A classroom is no longer revolved around learning and understanding. Moreover, students are restricted to simple memorization, left with no room for creativity or pleasure.  Educators jettison information to students and expect them to memorize key points in the lecture. The lectures are almost always in-line with the textbook used for that class. In these classrooms, students learn only one view to complex issues, inhibiting students to view the issue from all aspects of the spectrum. For example, Christopher Columbus is often taught as a respected explorer in search for a new world. The idea that Columbus enslaved thousands of Natives and eradicated most of them by bringing new diseases over, is rarely taught in the classroom. Educators must provide students with broad concepts to ponder so that they pose their own questions.

Students must take charge in their own learning. When an instructor stands in front of the classroom and lectures for the whole class period, they are essentially giving students the answers without a clear meaning. Allowing the students to interact with one another provides an effective route to the lead objective. As previously stated, all students bring their own experiences with them to the classroom. In one classroom, students were put in groups of five or six to discuss artifacts from Egypt. As the students examined the artifact, they discussed the possibilities of the different functions these objects may possess. The students were understanding the main function of the object because they were all bringing their past experiences to the light. Essentially, these students were teaching each other, working together toward a common goal.

Evaluation of student learning is difficult to measure through pen-and-paper assessments. Some students become anxious during a high-stakes test, fearing that they will fail. On the other hand, simple interaction with a student in the classroom setting is a more effective way to measure what the student understands about the lesson. In the state of New Jersey, students that graduate in the year 2021 and beyond must achieve passing scores on the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) English 10 and Algebra portions to graduate. The teachers must prepare students for these exams, and by doing so they align their curriculum with concepts most likely to appear on the assessments. The students are just memorizing key concepts to increase their test taking skills.

Traditional teaching styles are a method of the past and have proved to be ineffective. Educators must shift their teaching methods to a more effective standard. Students should be encouraged to deeply understand the material instead of memorizing terms. This allows students to apply learned concepts in the classroom to their everyday lives. Their backgrounds form who they are as a learner and educators need to adapt their curriculum to challenge student supposition and promote creativity along with free thinking. As an educator, it is their job to guide them to the answer. A third-grade student wrote to his teacher, “You are like the North Star for the class. You don’t tell us where to go, but you help us find our way.”

 

Works Cited

Brooks, Martin. Brooks, Jacqueline. “The Courage to Be Constructivist.” The Constructivist Classroom. vol. 57, no. 3, 1999, pp. 18-24.

http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/nov99/vol57/num03/The-Courage-to-Be-Constructivist.aspx. Accessed 28 Nov. 2017.

 

Brooks, Martin, and Jacqueline Brooks. In Search of Understanding: The Case for Constructivist Classrooms. Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development. 1993. http://www.ascd.org/publications/books/199234/chapters/Honoring-the-Learning-Process.aspx

E11: Robust Subjects and Verbs — ChandlerBing

Vancouver suffers from a plentiful amount of heroin addicts committing crimes (such as breaking and entering and robbery) to support their unfavorable habits. A new controversial program provides addicts with free heroin as a way to aid heroin users. Using heroin consumes the users life, turning into an obsession that they are unable to live without. Finding jobs, day-to-day interactions and maintaining relationships become all too difficult for the user because they invest all of their time finding ways to obtain heroin. Weaning users off heroin is not the programs intent; in fact, it is only trying to reduce the rising crime rate in Vancouver. Many heroin users cannot afford expensive hospital bills when they overdose and hospitals should not have to deal with people who choose to use the drug. The program gives users heroin in the cleanest way possible by providing clean heroin and clean needles to prevent the spread of blood-borne diseases. The city’s crime rate will reduce but heroin addicts still have a long and difficult road in front of them.