24th September 2014
I Am Not a Fish
Since my first exchange program to the U.S. my mind has been filled with memories of taking standardized tests. In junior high I was introduced to the MEAPs, and the agonizing tests went on until my senior year of high school when I took the dreadful ACT. I remember the importance that our teachers and school administrators stressed concerning the ACT, because they had a reputation to uphold in the education system. The schools are ranked in each district based on how well the students perform on the standardized tests. We, as students, were brainwashed by the school system to believe that these tests are of considerable importance and that they measure our intelligence, but the reality is that these tests really prove who is a better test taker. I have experienced two different educational systems. Neither one is better than the other. Both systems have advantages and disadvantages. In Ecuador, my home country, we didn't have standardized tests. In Ecuador, acceptance to a college depended on the entrance test and sometimes an interview. These entrance tests are also timed, but they are not like standardized tests in the United States. The Ecuadorian tests focused on career choice, unlike the ACT which consists of anything that students have learned from elementary to high school. However, the educational system wasn’t better in Ecuador, due to the early education system consisting of memorization. For example, in my Spanish class I had to memorize an essay from the textbook. I wasn’t taught to write an essay. The problem with memorization is that if we memorized everything, we wouldn’t need to think and would lack creativity. Justin James, the author of “Standardized Testing vs. Education,” states that tests are sending the wrong message to students. They demonstrate that it’s possible to measure a student’s intelligence by a number. He believes that students find school boring...
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