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View Diary: Education: Why data-driven instruction does not work (98 comments)

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  •  Cookie-cutter kids (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ebohlman, JerryNA, Sunspots

    I have graded standardized tests in the past - I thought it might help me as I tutor people to write exam essays - and what is most head-wringing for me is the arbitrariness of what the testing authorities have decided is excellent, acceptable, poor, etc.

    For example, on an English writing narrative prompt, a story can be dull as dust...but if it has details, a few fancy words, linkage between sentences, and a few sentences of "internal reflection" (though that is nowhere called for in the prompt), then it gets high marks.  Compare that to a gripping story that is full of evocative phrases, dialogue, play-by-play action, and a more stream-of-consciousness organization.  Because the connections between ideas are not made as obvious in the second story, it has to get a lower mark, as per the scoring requirements.

    Someone on the testing board liked Reader's Digest, I get it.  But who's to say that a kid who can write for Reader's Digest is a better writer than one who can write an ESPN play-by-play, or poetic prose?  Are the latter kids really to be branded "failing" writers?  Is it right to group those latter kids at the same writing level as those kids who have problems with grammar, word choice, punctuation, and spelling, simply because of their writing style?

    One-size-fits-all testing just results in cookie-cutter students.  Funny...I don't see a lot of factory jobs in this country for those kids to take when they graduate.

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