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View Diary: This is Why Standardized Tests Fail (32 comments)

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  •  Unsupported? It's common sense. (1+ / 0-)
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    What's wrong with standardized testing for basic objectives (mathematics, grammar, history, science) which are the building blocks of an education?  Is it the standardization you object to?

    "Because I am a river to my people."

    by lordcopper on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 09:13:01 AM PDT

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    •  "Common sense"? (1+ / 0-)
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      What's wrong with standardized testing for basic objectives (mathematics, grammar, history, science) which are the building blocks of an education?
      And how exactly do you test for those basic objectives in such a way as to remove any other factors?

      For example, how does the test differentiate between those who don't understand the concept being tested, and those who don't understand the question itself, or the system being used to answer it? How does the test accurately reflect the abilities of the student who, say, knows history really well, but doesn't understand one of the words in the question and is thus doomed to guess?

      How does the test measure those actual skills or concepts, differentiating between those who have actually mastered those skills or concepts and those who are good at scoring well in standardized tests on those skills or concepts but cannot actually use them outside the rather limited scope of the standardized test?

      How does the test analyze the skills of those whose styles of reasoning or thinking don't gel with the kind of linear thinking required by testing, or whose attention levels aren't conducive to being able to think at their best throughout the kinds of long test periods being implemented in schools?

      How does the test adjust for those who might have a more difficult time learning due to trouble at home, not enough to eat during the day, or parents who don't have the time to help them with their homework, such that the test measures their actual abilities accurately in comparison to those who are privileged with stable home lives, plenty of food, and parents who can help them?

      When confronted with the very real gulf between what the tests purport to measure and the number of factors for which they are completely unable to adjust, I don't see how the "common sense" conclusion that the tests measure the "basic objectives" of education holds any water at all.

      "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

      by JamesGG on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 10:08:39 AM PDT

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      •  Not to mention the fact that there is (1+ / 0-)
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        rarely any recourse if a student knows better than the person who constructed a faulty question; indeed, that student may never even discover that he or she got the question ‘wrong’.  A classic example from the Iowa Tests of Educational Development many years ago gave the students the four words cartons, altogether, possibilities, and intensionally, and the fifth choice none wrong, and asked which, if any, of the four words was misspelled.  Apparently the test’s constructors were not familiar with the word intensionally, which is used, for instance, in logic and semantics: the correct answer is none wrong, but the ‘correct’ answer was intensionally.  A bright and knowledgeable student with an aptitude for taking standardized tests simply had to guess whether the constructors were familiar with the word or not.  More open-ended formats allow a student to explain his or her reasoning.

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