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What Happened When an Adult Took Standardized Tests Forced on Kids...

post #1 of 38
Thread Starter 
Link to article.

Quote:
A longtime friend on the school board of one of the largest school systems in America did something that few public servants are willing to do. He took versions of his state’s high-stakes standardized math and reading tests for 10th graders, and said he’d make his scores public.

By any reasonable measure, my friend is a success. His now-grown kids are well-educated. He has a big house in a good part of town. Paid-for condo in the Caribbean. Influential friends. Lots of frequent flyer miles. Enough time of his own to give serious attention to his school board responsibilities. The margins of his electoral wins and his good relationships with administrators and teachers testify to his openness to dialogue and willingness to listen.

Maybe he's a SF poaster?
post #2 of 38
Of the 60 math questions he knew none....I'm not suprised.

The vast majority of the country can't even do basic arithmetic. Even more don't even understand basic algebra.

I don't understand all this standardized test hate. I took them through my schooling and always scored in the top percentile. They are absurdly easy, and only test basic skills. If students of a certain teacher or school are failing these tests, there is something wrong with the teacher or the school, not the test.
post #3 of 38
Don't know what the guy does for a living, but being away from it all those years certainly makes it a lot harder to go back to unless you're really using the skills in your job (which he admits he's not doing). He could be a very successful guy and still be crappy at math. I couldn't do the math proofs now that I was capable of doing in high school nor even some of the algebra (I haven't touched logarithms in a long time). I've just forgotten too much, and even if i went back to it, unless i spent a lot of time prepping I'm sure i'd end up having holes in my knowledge.

Anyway, part of the point they're trying to make is that the tests aren't applicable to real life, but the tests aren't there for that. They're there to provide a standard basis of comparison for kids from different schools, districts, states, etc. What do you replace them with or how would universities make admissions decisions? Whether you like the tests or not, they tell you something about the kids that write them and they're probably pretty predictive of how a kid will do in college. And ya, you can study to improve your score so it's not great as an intelligence test, but a kid that's willing to put in the time to study for the SATs is probably more likely to study in university too.

And how many people actually use algebra in their jobs? Should we just cancel all math classes beyond basic arithmetic? It's unethical that we waste kids' time with it! And it turns out you can say the same about most subjects in high school. Those are clearly wasted years.
post #4 of 38
For real. Most people never use history or Bio in their jobs either. Not to say K-12 can't be improved, but come on.
post #5 of 38
It's interesting, but I am not surprised. I recall my dad who was a (former) chemical engineer trying to help me with my high school chem homework.

Maybe I am in the minority, but I have taken more standardized tests in my life time than most people (state "mastery tests", PSAT, SAT, ACT, LSAT, FUGGIN BAR EXAMS!!!! to name a few). I hate them. Standardized tests almost always focus more on test taking ability than on knowledge. Ask any lawyer who sits for the bar. The first thing the very expensive bar review companies tell you is to forget about how much you know about "the law"/legal issues- you are learning how to take a test. You can even see your scores go up as you practice taking literally thousands of practice multiple choice questions.

My point is that I think most people assume they would do fine on a standardized exam because they are good at their job and intelligent, but often that confidence is misplaced.

EDIT-

to the "haters": I am past caring at this point in my life. I don't have to take any more test if I don't want to. That said, the issue here is mandatory testing like state mastery tests or tests mandated by no child left behind and the like. They result in a poor allocation of resources. Schools end up training kids to take a test without focusing actual instruction.
post #6 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by CTGuy View Post

It's interesting, but I am not surprised. I recall my dad who was a (former) chemical engineer trying to help me with my high school chem homework.
Maybe I am in the minority, but I have taken more standardized tests in my life time than most people (state "mastery tests", PSAT, SAT, ACT, LSAT, FUGGIN BAR EXAMS!!!! to name a few). I hate them. Standardized tests almost always focus more on test taking ability than on knowledge. Ask any lawyer who sits for the bar. The first thing the very expensive bar review companies tell you is to forget about how much you know about "the law"/legal issues- you are learning how to take a test. You can even see your scores go up as you practice taking literally thousands of practice multiple choice questions.
My point is that I think most people assume they would do fine on a standardized exam because they are good at their job and intelligent, but often that confidence is misplaced.

I disagree with these standardized test teaching companies. They try to make their students take shortcuts. Learn "how to take tests" because that's easier than teaching the subject. Dumb things like compiling old tests and figuring out B comes up at a higher chance and a c or o d. If someone has a good understanding of the subject ie Math they can figure out how to do the problems it'll be a breeze, instead of going to after school classes paying thousands of dollars for someone to teach them how to guess better.
post #7 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by GQgeek View Post

Don't know what the guy does for a living, but being away from it all those years certainly makes it a lot harder to go back to unless you're really using the skills in your job (which he admits he's not doing). He could be a very successful guy and still be crappy at math. I couldn't do the math proofs now that I was capable of doing in high school nor even some of the algebra (I haven't touched logarithms in a long time). I've just forgotten too much, and even if i went back to it, unless i spent a lot of time prepping I'm sure i'd end up having holes in my knowledge.
Anyway, part of the point they're trying to make is that the tests aren't applicable to real life, but the tests aren't there for that. They're there to provide a standard basis of comparison for kids from different schools, districts, states, etc. What do you replace them with or how would universities make admissions decisions? Whether you like the tests or not, they tell you something about the kids that write them and they're probably pretty predictive of how a kid will do in college. And ya, you can study to improve your score so it's not great as an intelligence test, but a kid that's willing to put in the time to study for the SATs is probably more likely to study in university too.
And how many people actually use algebra in their jobs? Should we just cancel all math classes beyond basic arithmetic? It's unethical that we waste kids' time with it! And it turns out you can say the same about most subjects in high school. Those are clearly wasted years.
Quote:
Originally Posted by CYstyle View Post

I disagree with these standardized test teaching companies. They try to make their students take shortcuts. Learn "how to take tests" because that's easier than teaching the subject. Dumb things like compiling old tests and figuring out B comes up at a higher chance and a c or o d. If someone has a good understanding of the subject ie Math they can figure out how to do the problems it'll be a breeze, instead of going to after school classes paying thousands of dollars for someone to teach them how to guess better.

I use the bar exam review example simply because it is a very high level standardized test-- one for law students seeking final admission to become attorneys. There is much more "to it" than figuring out whether ABCD comes up more often. In the case of the bar, which I admit is not the same as an elementary school math test, I know of no one who does not take some kind of prep class and still passes the exam.

In the context of the original post- public schools have limited resources. As you say, and I agree, it is a waste to learn shortcuts, but that is what is done in the public schools a lot of times when these tests are implemented. Teachers spend time teaching short cuts because that is what improves scores. Improved scores means the teachers and the school gets more money- etc. I have a problem with this in that the focus should be on teaching the students the substantive material- not the shortcuts.
post #8 of 38
The problem seems to ultimately be the teachers, not the tests. I don't have any data but I'm willing to say based on experience that most teachers wouldn't know their ass from a hole in the ground if their teacher's edition didn't give them the answer.
post #9 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by why View Post

The problem seems to ultimately be the teachers, not the tests. I don't have any data but I'm willing to say based on experience that most teachers wouldn't know their ass from a hole in the ground if their teacher's edition didn't give them the answer.

On some level, I agree.
post #10 of 38
I can understand why there is standardised testing in an underesourced public school system, but what i still don't understand is why we still have it in undergrad?
post #11 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip View Post

I can understand why there is standardised testing in an underesourced public school system, but what i still don't understand is why we still have it in undergrad?

Because then people would see what 30 - 50K a year is buying them...
post #12 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip View Post

I can understand why there is standardised testing in an underesourced public school system, but what i still don't understand is why we still have it in undergrad?

What sort of standardized tests are you taking in undergrad? I took the GREs, but that was it.

I know some people take standardized tests like the ACS chemistry tests, but it's pretty far from the rule.
post #13 of 38
Quote:
He continued, “It seems to me something is seriously wrong. I have a bachelor of science degree, two masters degrees, and 15 credit hours toward a doctorate.

“I help oversee an organization with 22,000 employees and a $3 billion operations and capital budget, and am able to make sense of complex data related to those responsibilities."

Yes, and a bang up job you and your friends are doing on our public school system. Carry on.
Quote:
Winerip writes: “As of last night, 658 principals around the state (New York) had signed a letter — 488 of them from Long Island, where the insurrection began — protesting the use of students’ test scores to evaluate teachers’ and principals’ performance.”

What other measurement would be a fair evaluation of the teachers' and principals' performance? I'm seriously curious about this.
post #14 of 38
tests are a measurment to see how much kids learn in school, not to check how much some old guy remembered from his math class...

I'm neither in favor for or against standarized tests, but this guy is not making any point.
post #15 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by CTGuy View Post

On some level, I agree.
Quote:
Originally Posted by CTGuy View Post

I use the bar exam review example simply because it is a very high level standardized test-- one for law students seeking final admission to become attorneys. There is much more "to it" than figuring out whether ABCD comes up more often. In the case of the bar, which I admit is not the same as an elementary school math test, I know of no one who does not take some kind of prep class and still passes the exam.
In the context of the original post- public schools have limited resources. As you say, and I agree, it is a waste to learn shortcuts, but that is what is done in the public schools a lot of times when these tests are implemented. Teachers spend time teaching short cuts because that is what improves scores. Improved scores means the teachers and the school gets more money- etc. I have a problem with this in that the focus should be on teaching the students the substantive material- not the shortcuts.

I would agree with this wholeheartedly.

What I don't understand is NY Public schools have sooooooooo much money. For students in NY not able to pass basic math and writing no I would have to lay blame on the teachers.
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