State Testing

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Testing, Testing, And More Testing

In all the years before students have went through school learning at all different levels and they would constantly advance without knowing if they had learned what needed to be learned or not. They did this until they got into jr. high/ high school and had end of semester exams and would fail which meant they were held back or didn’t graduate at all that year. We have to ask ourselves if it was really failing or was it the system failing them all the years before is. This is when standardized testing came about in grade schools to start testing the knowledge of the kids a lot earlier. When this came up there were a lot of mixed feelings, they thought this would punish the children that didn’t test well or that the teachers and schools would then focus on the test as a curriculum and they may not learn everything they need to. Others thought the testing was a great idea to insure their children were learning the information at school and that they were actually absorbing it. To me these benchmark tests raise the bar not only for student to learn but for the school system to teach so how could this not be doing more good than bad.

In the past couple years people have been finding flaws in the latest TAKS test which lead to a lot of up roar. In 2006, Walter Stroup, a UT professor said he found a huge flaw in the test and was out to prove it. He set up an experiment where he had middle school students enrolled in a Dallas-area math pilot program for a year. The students began to show marked improvement in their understanding of mathematical concepts. By the end of the year, however, their scores had increased only marginally on state standardized Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills tests. He then went back and looked at all the students scored in the years before and they were lower but not by the amount he thought they should be since he saw how much the students had improved. He made this known to Pearsons who designs the test and he invested millions of dollars in fixing the TAKS test. He wasn’t the only one that was finding these flaws teachers were everyday expressing their feeling about the testing and one teacher goes on to say you can’t test a child’s performance on if he passes or not since children are so inconsistent from day to day. In her letter the kids in her junior class have a different attitude everyday she says and some days her kids are right on cue and others act like preschoolers that don’t know a thing. This is why she doesn’t think the test is fair on them because if they are having one of those off days and it’s a test day that already puts them behind in score and that one day can say if they move up a grade level. The other teachers in this document are right there with her but they have their own reasons of not liking the test. One teacher says she feels her curriculum is based too much on teaching for the TAKS test and she can’t get in some of the old activities she use to like to do with her classes. Another one says some of her students have test anxiety so she thinks that isn’t fair to give them a test to tell them if they have learned anything for the year.

While all this is true in some ways, no matter what we do here will always be those handful of students that fall through the cracks I think. We will not be able to ever find a way that all students, parents, and teachers are satisfied but that doesn’t mean we just leave it the way it was, we have to at least try to challenge the kids to learn and absorb everything they can. This is what these test do I believe they challenge the children to listen to the teacher and do what it takes to make a good grade on a test at the end of the year. I believe the TAKS test was flawed though in ways that it wouldn’t test for what the teachers that year had taught it would test for a collective knowledge of the last couple years so that should determine if they stay in that grade level because that...
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