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The Huffington Post / Rebecca Klein has a short clip of Louis C.K. talking to David Letterman about standardized testing:

Louis C.K. took his complaints about standardized testing to late night television Thursday, telling David Letterman his two daughters were currently amid three days of "high-pressure" exams at their public schools.

The appearance on "David Letterman" comes after the comedian knocked standardized testing and the Common Core State Standards on Twitter this week. In the tweet, he sarcastically thanked the Common Core Standards for making his daughters cry and suggested the standards implementation process had been rushed in New York State. He also posted photos of one of his daughter's math homework, musing, "Who is writig these? And why? [sic]"

The exchange happens at the beginning, in the first two minutes or so.  It's nice to see a conversation in simple to understand terms about problems with standardized testing in this country.  And watching either Louis. C.K. or Letterman is usually always a treat, so I thought this was worth sharing ...

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Comment Preferences

  •  History teaches (4+ / 0-)

    that those who forget history are doomed to repeat it.

    There have been many examples throughout history when education focused mostly on teaching a test and using family connections to get kids into schools than actual critical thinking, exploration of issues and events or even basic logical reasoning.  Mostly, this shift led to the downfall of the civilization where educational system became too stagnant.  The thing about learning is that it is not static, it is plastic, always changing, evolving and progressing.  It is also a human created system prone to flaws and imperfections, but, we are also problem-solving creatures, so it's a good thing, right?

    Three major problems with the American education system (as I see it) are:

    1.) No standardized curriculum: when children are moved between schools due to migrant work so their parents can support them, the children must figure out where they are in the new curriculum.  They lose time in their education or they just give up trying to figure out what they are supposed to know.  This leads to increasing the drop-out rate and is easily rectified by instituting a standardized curriculum as is found in most European countries.

    2.) Our system is based on an old agricultural schedule that most kids no longer need.  We lose more time trying to get kids back up to their pre-summer vacation levels than if we restructured those three or four months out of the classroom into maybe just a month-ish off, but broken up between May and August.  Perhaps take a week off in May and another week off in July and three weeks off in August?

    3.) Stop trying to make everyone fit into the "one size fits all" style of teaching to a standardized test.  Testing is only good for assessing a standardized curriculum, which we don't have.  It is also only good if everyone has the same cultural background, which, this being America, is highly unlikely to happen.  I'm not saying that the testing can't be reformed, I'm just saying stop putting so much emphasis on the testing process for the time being.

    There are many other improvements that can be made, but these would be the best start to reforming the entire system.

    •  US educaton is a brain disease (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Friend of the court

      What teachers should teach is how to learn. In order to learn you have to discover something that interests you enough you want to study it.

      How does a teacher teach you to be interested? If anyone has ever taught you how to learn you would know the answer, indeed you could teach that course.

      Do most kids know how to learn by the time they graduate high school? I don't think so. By the time they graduate college then or settle for some other alternative?

      Any one can become an expert on anything at any time if they know how to learn and it has nothing to do with studying for exams or testing. It goes outside cultural background; people, like their teachers become interesting by become interested. That's all there is to it really.

      Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

      by rktect on Sat May 03, 2014 at 02:38:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I would posit (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rktect

        that good teachers do exactly that.  I know my teachers all instilled a sense of discovery and adventure in learning.  That the best gift they could give their students was that learning is a lifelong process.

        I mentioned the three biggest issues as I saw them with the American educational system.  There are many ways to improve the educational system in this country.  I'm one of those "identify three key issues and work down from there" kinds of people.  

        I am unsure about what you are trying to express other than teachers are necessary and need to make learning interesting.  I said nothing about someone becoming an expert in a given field; I do find it interesting that you bring up this example.  It is also interesting how you tied that in with testing and exam preparation.

        •  Testing unlike learning isn't a lifelong process (0+ / 0-)

          Most people never discover the adventure in being imprinted with the answers to tests.

          Take the "identify three key issues" part.

          That is how school becomes a boor, something that gets in the way of the learning you would otherwise be engaged in.

          Issues sound like they are related to a topic whereas what I'm talking about is standards by which you can measure, weigh, and judge where you are in the process of learning anything.

          Suppose we skipped the exams and the testing and instead helped students think of education as a process where their teachers questions weren't intended to be so much about key issues they could be tested on as their self knowledge of where they were in the process.

          Suppose we just taught a student standards.

          Standards as a process of learning in the most classical sense. Imagine a student only being taught the process of learning. Then they could go learn for themselves.

          Now one way to do that is with "reading, writing and 'rithmatick taught to the tune of a hickory stick". Doesn't work for me but it does provide a sort of a functional minimum.

          There is the idea of being taught a progression of ideas, which have rules. A student can be expected to progress by learning the rules and then applying the rules to questions to find the right answers. Maybe one rule would be "identify three key issues." That as opposed to learning a process.

          Given the rules a person could become a mathematician or maybe a judge and decide if the rules were being followed and if not deny the motion.

          Alternatively, instead of rules, a student might learn to apply as a process of evaluation, a series of seven standards, paired opposites with each being a thesis or statement leading to an antithesis and eventually a synthesis which becomes the statement begging the next paired opposite antithesis.

          A teacher might ask a student to choose which best represents where we are at regarding some interest, Chaos, Mythos or Eros.

          Lets say we are talking about sex, which interests a lot of young people, a teacher might ask which word best represents where is your head at with this right now?

          Do you recognize the choice as an exam or a test identifying where the student is at in the process of developing their interest?

          Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

          by rktect on Sun May 04, 2014 at 01:48:59 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Misuse of words... (0+ / 0-)

            Since when did schools acquire personalities?  You may need a test or two.

            •  Scools acquired personalities (0+ / 0-)

              long before they set the stage for corporations to become persons.

              Its not just schools. About one fourth of the worlds five thousand some odd languages use gender to assign personalities to inanimate nouns. Ships have gender. So do the personified senses of wonder at natures magnificence we call gods and goddesses.

              If you don't think schools can be a boor, can school in general or even a specific school be considered booring or if not that specifically have different sets of traits?

              What is it that makes us have a different perception as to the essence of a school like Brigham Young University compared to say Harvard University. What is it that makes a schools persona, defined as the attitudes and values we attribute to it, what it is and not something else?

              You recognize, I'm sure, that your concept of a "test" implies norms, mores, conventions, established rules, rigor in the institutionalization of the consensus to be law abiding as regards the correct answers...

              ... is in other words not conducive to establishing a process of learning as an ongoing and continuing process where everything you believe to be true is simply a bias against the alternative...

              Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

              by rktect on Sun May 04, 2014 at 09:35:25 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Er . . . hmmmmm . . . (0+ / 0-)

              I said nothing about testing aside from the fact that standardized testing is not an appropriate form of measuring a student's progress or the teacher's ability to teach.  I believe this is fairly simply stated in my original post to this thread.

              I am still unsure what your argument is aside from the fact that you do not like the words I chose to express my ideas; you are trying to get into semantics and I am rather anti-semantic.  The ideas you have shared and the ideas I have also shared seem to agree more than disagree.

              Methinks that thou dost protest too much, rktect.  

              •  We agree about standardized testing (0+ / 0-)

                or at least its a testable hypothesis that we agree.

                My argument isn't with you personally its with the educational system which I protest vigorously is more about certifying competence to be hired as an employee than about teaching how to learn.

                Methinks that thou dost protest too much, rktect.  
                I wonder if Shakespeare ( or his ghost writer) meant what you seem to think he meant by that phrase.
                The quotation's meaning has changed somewhat since it was first written: whereas in modern parlance "protest" in this context often means a denial, in Shakespeare's time to "protest" meant to "vow" or "declare solemnly", and thus the phrase referred to a positive affirmation
                In teaching a student to learn how to learn sometimes my mothers advice to me to "look it up in the dictionary"  expanded to fact checking is not bad advice. In particular religion, and its secular counterpart the legal system expanded to its politically based legislative history offends in this regard.
                The quotation is found in act III, scene II of Hamlet, where it is spoken by Queen Gertrude, Hamlet's mother. Hamlet and his mother, along with others, have been watching a play within a play, that Hamlet wrote based on his guess as to the set of events that occurred before his mother married his uncle Claudius. In the play, the Player Queen, representing Gertrude, declares in flowery language that she will never remarry if her husband dies. Hamlet then turns to his mother and asks her, "Madam, how like you this play?", to which she replies "The lady doth protest too much, methinks." Gertrude (who may or may not be aware that the queen in the play is a stand-in for her) is saying that the Player Queen is promising too much. Hamlet replies, "O, but she'll keep her word."
                Foreshadowing both their deaths.

                Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

                by rktect on Sun May 04, 2014 at 01:48:40 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

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