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

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  •  Are you saying that performing mathematical (1+ / 0-)
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    calculations on a standardized test is more about "knowing how to take standardized tests", than understanding the concepts?

    "Because I am a river to my people."

    by lordcopper on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 09:19:40 AM PDT

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    •  In many cases it is as there is often not enough (1+ / 0-)
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      time (by design) to answer all the questions by doing all the work thus you have to use clever shortcuts which vary depending on the rules of the test.  For example, knowing whether you actually lose points for a wrong answer as opposed to just not gaining any makes a huge difference in strategy (specifically when you should take a guess).  Not to mention learning how to recognize which answers look "too good to be true" and thus are most likely wrong.  So yes, you can easily spend a few weeks just covering different testing strategies and end up having higher scores than actually studying the material being tested.

      You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

      by Throw The Bums Out on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 11:05:39 AM PDT

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    •  Yes. (1+ / 0-)
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      As far as standardized tests the way they are administered in the US are concerned, one need not necessarily know the material all that well, as long as they know they basic rules for tests.

      To use an example from the tv show The Simpsons, at one point Bart is supposed to take a standardized test, and how he performs determines how the entire school is judged. As a result Lisa gives him tips. I forget them exactly, but basically she tells him that two out of the four options can usually be eliminated, and when in doubt, just pick C. for a lot of tests, this type of approach is bound to net you a passing grade, at worst, regardless of subject.

      I have also seen this teaching university level physics. I have no doubt all the students I get at one point passed basic algebra, but more often than not, all I have to do is ask a simple question, such as, "what is the ratio?" and they just stare at me for far longer than is comfortable.

      Finally, speaking as someone who has always been good at taking standardized tests in my life, I have never once been convinced any of them have ever properly judged my or my peers' competence of the subject.

      "In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.” -Confucius

      by pierre9045 on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 12:00:01 PM PDT

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      •  I remember exactly one standardized test (0+ / 0-)

        that I thought might have done what it was supposed to do, and it was an aptitude test, not a test of knowledge: the Army Language Aptitude Test that I took in basic training in 1970.  (It was also fun, but then I’m interested in languages.)

        Here’s an anecdotal but concrete illustration of the importance of the ability to take standardized tests.  When my ex-wife was applying to graduate schools to work towards a PhD in history, she had to take the history GRE.  At that point she was finishing a strong MA in history.  I’m a mathematician; I’ve some interest in history, but my knowledge of the subject was certainly less than hers.  However, I’ve always been very good at taking standardized tests, and she was not.  As part of her preparation for the GRE she took a practice GRE. Seeing it lying about, I gave it a try just for fun.  I scored 100 points higher than she did.

    •  An example: (2+ / 0-)
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      BMScott, pierre9045

      I have a math disability. I have a lot of trouble with math concepts. I can however pass a math standardized test, just by using logic, reasoning, and elimination of multiple choice answers. If I can estimate what the answer should be, I have a really good shot at guessing the answer. It has NOTHING to do with understanding the concept or being able to do all the math correctly for the problem. I've done this all of my life. Give me a multiple choice test and I'll ace it. Make me sit and do the math and I'm completely lost, and I'll likely invert numbers even more frequently in a testing situation.

      "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

      by FloridaSNMOM on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 12:39:04 PM PDT

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      •  What, exactly, is a "math disability"? (0+ / 0-)

        The irony is that you have the "logic and reasoning" to pass a standardized test, but you have a "math disability".

        "Because I am a river to my people."

        by lordcopper on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 06:30:33 PM PDT

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        •  Look up Dyscalculia. (1+ / 0-)
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          I can apply logic and reasoning to things, but I can't necessarily add, subtract, multiply or divide correctly, and I often forget math 'rules' like how to multiply fractions or find a common denominator. One day it is there, the next it's gone.

          But, I can apply logic like this (an example from my fast food working days long ago): Someone orders two cups of coffee. I enter it in, they pay with a ten, and to me it looks like the change is $2.74. Well obviously that's wrong, it's either $7.24 or $7.42. Then I would take the next step to figure out which one it is. Logic, reasoning, and knowing my limits and catching my own disability and being able to compensate for it.

          "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

          by FloridaSNMOM on Sun Apr 27, 2014 at 05:43:04 AM PDT

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