Standardized tests... thoughts, opinions, ideas?

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BMP
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Re: Standardized tests... thoughts, opinions, ideas?

Postby BMP » Wed Dec 17, 2008 11:58 am UTC

Meh it's a toss up. On one hand mutli-choice tests like one in History or English don't really help; when are you going to NEED to know about the french revolution or some book you read besides in A) the class and B) if you choose to go into the history or English field. Then again that could be said about all tests like science and math, but for history and English it's more memorization than knowing. Basically some tests are good, some are not so good. It depends.

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Hurduser
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Re: Standardized tests... thoughts, opinions, ideas?

Postby Hurduser » Wed Dec 17, 2008 1:57 pm UTC

Again a different perspective after all this ranting about standardized tests. We had none of these in my state when I attended primary and secondary school (for the Germans in the forum: Gymnasium). This of course meant that marks were completely arbirtary and that we had a disadvantage compared to the states with a centralized final exam because they had the advantage of a common standard. I did and still do consider this highly unfair. I do not want to get a disadvantage because of rumours about my city, state or district.

Another issue is that without these final tests, the abilities of teachers and schools can not be compared*. I had my share of bad teachers, from inept to unfortunate (landed in hospital weeks after taking over English in our class, was replaced by too many temporary teachers). While there is no way to weed out the unlucky, I do hope that bad results will bite the inept ones in their backsides and will make sure that the great teachers get rewarded.

The example about playing the violin is stupid. First of all is ability in sports not an ability I want to see marked (the violin as grading tool is satire, but many people think intelligence involves the things, PE will grade**). While many people think that all forms of intelligence are equal, I do not agree and neither does the world. Of course, these exams should test what is considered the most valued form of intelligence.

*schools could be compared in soft issues, but this is not what I mean. I do not want my hypothetical children go to school for the activities in the afternoon, I want them to go to school to learn.
**another topic, for a long rant, believe me.
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-KF-
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Re: Standardized tests... thoughts, opinions, ideas?

Postby -KF- » Fri Dec 19, 2008 12:15 am UTC

The MCAS is, and has always been, a load of crap. You get multiple choice questions with no correct answer, more than one correct answer, or else the question is BS. As for open response, they have them corrected by anyone they can just pull off the street in Iowa or someplace like that, so if you don't use exactly the same wording as on the example answer given to the random people grading it, there's no way you'll get full credit on the question, regardless of how correct your answer is.

For some reason, my school pretty much forces you to take the PSAT sophomore year, and then again junior year, so you can "do better the second time." I just can't understand why the hell we need to take a practice test for a practice test. And the bubbles you have to fill in are ovular. Circles are so much easier to fill in - that's basically the only thing the MCAS did right, if you ask me.

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Kiki
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Re: Standardized tests... thoughts, opinions, ideas?

Postby Kiki » Thu Jan 01, 2009 9:17 am UTC

I don't really have a strong opinion for or against the SAT/ACT...but I will say that I went to high school in middle-of-nowhere, Texas, and had to wake up obscenely early and driver about 90 miles to take these tests...hence I was dead tired and I believe I even fell asleep a few times. But still did well enough to get into the University I wanted, so HA.

But I HATED the TAAS/TAKS tests. You know, Texas' standard tests. I know someone else brought this up already, so prepare for more whining! =P I do agree that this test is easy and that you probably shouldn't be graduating if you can't pass it. ("but some people just don't test well!" argument and all that whatnot aside) My main gripe is that schools are judged by how well their students perform on it. In my schools case, it wasn't just one week down the drain actually taking the test, but entire classes revolving around preparing for it. We had to deal with "TAKS test prep" all...year...long. It drug us all down. And the writing was ridiculous...all through middle school I was forced to follow a 5 paragraph formula. Intro, 3 body paragraphs, conclusion. You get docked for not following that. But that's ok, because if we did well on the TAKS at the end of the year, our high school would be classified as "Exemplary"! Whoop de freakin doo! We excel in reading and answering questions on a short story, solving simple math problems, and are capable of writing a page and a half! Oh, and we had an unlimited amount of time to do it in. We're all just SO prepared for college. =/

Oh yeah...and as for NCLB...some of them probably need to be. (ZING!) No, but seriously. I knew so many who absolutely hated school, had no desire to be there, and definitely did not want to continue on to college. Don't dumb everything down for those who will refuse to benefit anyway.

Ender
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Re: Standardized tests... thoughts, opinions, ideas?

Postby Ender » Sun Jan 04, 2009 2:54 am UTC

Standardized tests i find are something someone created as a sick joke that has gone on for too long and piss the majority of people off. like reality TV...
For me, I don't do well on standardized tests. Something about being in one class room for several hours staring at a SCANTRON paper, No one talking... So when I took the SAT for the first
Pennsylvania has the joy of having several more tests on top of this: The ERB, PSSA, and now made it mandatory to take the PSAT. And on top of that, all these test must be taken in 11th grade. The annoy aspect about all of the tests I mentioned is that they all have different difficulties between all of them, such as, the math section for the SAT goes from geometry to trig at a medium level; for the PSSA, it is a very simple version of those sections. Which can make taking these very annoying
Now the fun thing about the PSSA is that it is scored by BELOW BASIC/ BASIC/ PROFICIENT/ ADVANCED. And that, if you don't score at least proficient, then when you graduate they will label it on the diploma.
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Re: Standardized tests... thoughts, opinions, ideas?

Postby justrandomwords » Thu Jan 08, 2009 12:09 am UTC

I think that it really depends on the standardized test. Even different tests distributed by the College Board work differently. The SAT is supposed to measure a kid's like.. potential to succeed in college or something, and is clearly bullshit, but I agree with what people were saying a little bit back about how combined with a GPA, it can give you a rough idea of the type of student someone is.

AP tests, on the other hand, are totally different. Even though they're standardized tests, they're way more specific than the SAT, and can better separate the proverbial wheat from the chaff. Overall I think AP tests are a much better designed type of test, especially because they usually have a multiple choice section and a longer problem/essay section... so it gives kids a better opportunity (whether you are good at m.c. or long answers), plus is more realistic of what a student should be able to do by the end of a course.

That being said, I did way better on the SAT than I did on most of my AP tests...

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LaserGuy
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Re: Standardized tests... thoughts, opinions, ideas?

Postby LaserGuy » Thu Jan 15, 2009 6:21 pm UTC

I'm going to disagree with the general sentiment here and state that I feel that under the present academic climate, standardized testing is a necessary, if ill-used, tool. The stated purpose of most (if not all) standardized tests is to provide bodies with the interest (universities, governments, etc.) a quantitative measure of how well two individuals perform under theoretically ideal conditions. This is important because grades, both in high schools and now even in universities are so sensitive to the whims of the teacher that it is difficult to correlate a student's grades at all with their expected performance. Given that universities have limited space, scholarships, and whatnot, it is incumbent upon them to have some fair and analytic means to determine how qualified a student is for entrance or financial aid. Most universities should be aware of the limitations of standardized testing and not use them as an exclusive measure of aptitude, but rather as a baseline that can be used to filter out students who are obviously unqualified.

That said, the problem with standardized testing, in my opinion, is not the theory behind it, but rather the implementation. Multiple choice tests of any kind are generally a poor indicator of anything other than the ability to take multiple choice exams; they tend to emphasize the lowest levels of cognative reasoning (mostly knowledge, understanding), because it is very difficult to design a multiple choice exam that can test higher levels of thinking--that is not to say that it is not possible to design a multiple choice exam that is difficult, it is simply hard to devise one that tests higher thought. Now, while administering an examination to ensure that students have certain basic levels of knowledge of a particular subject may be relavent, if the testing body has an interest in measuring something more than that, then essay/long answer questions at the very least are probably of significantly more interest. More sophisticated testing methods could even be employed as necessary. The problem simply comes down to laziness: multiple choice exams are relatively easy to write and extremely easy to mark, particularly in large quantities; by contrast, examinations that require higher thinking on the part of the students also require higher thinking on the part of the examiners to create and grade properly.


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