|Re: Calculators on Standard Tests|
Message #6 Posted by Lincoln R. on 14 Feb 2012, 11:44 a.m.,
in response to message #2 by Lincoln R.
Actually, I agree with Bill on the "good tests" remark. I don't think standardized tests are an effective measure of anything other than how good you are at taking standardized tests (or cheating on them, as the case may be.)
While many people here probably finished primary school long enough ago to escape this atrocity, when I was in high school we had to take state-sanctioned standardized tests and pass them to graduate. Honestly, most of the tests were a joke, and just diluted the value of the education. Particular points of interest:
* Algebra II, where the last 1/3 of the class was spent studying standardized test taking strategies and taking multiple-choice practice tests, rather than learning real math. Why? The school district and the math teacher would get in trouble with the state if too many people failed the machine-graded multiple choice test.
* Chemistry. Every year, the vast majority of students failed this test (The class was mandatory, passing the test was optional because you had to take 4 sciences and only had to pass 2 or 3 of the tests depending on whether you were going for the standard or advanced diploma). When I took chemistry, I was one of only three people in my school to pass it. However, the teacher told us of an interesting trend (and also gave us some old practice tests to prove his point): Did the large number of people failing this test convince the state that chemistry education needed to be improved? No. It convinced them that they needed to make the test easier, so every year the test got progressively easier.
Even those problems aside, the tests were poorly written, often contained typos, had ludicrous issues such as two multiple choice letters having the same answer, so on so forth. But that didn't matter. The point wasn't to prove that the state's public education was adequate - it was to produce a cookie-cutter test to let the state continue believing their education was adequate.