The Instigator
CTierneyNHS
Pro (for)
Winning
3 Points
The Contender
jbarberNHS
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Education: Testing

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Post Voting Period
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after 1 vote the winner is...
CTierneyNHS
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/16/2013 Category: Education
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,621 times Debate No: 38986
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (0)
Votes (1)

 

CTierneyNHS

Pro

Test scores is a superior way to measure teachers" effort and ability to do their job (1). The higher the test courses from students, the better the teacher is. Furthermore, standardized tests are a just measure of student achievement, along with ensuring teachers and schools are accountable to taxpayers (2). Standardized testing is approved by students and parents for being such an efficient system.

(1) http://americanradioworks.publicradio.org...
(2) http://standardizedtests.procon.org...
jbarberNHS

Con

Standardized testing, if anything, has not improved student achievement. In 2002, the US slipped from the 18th spot in the world for math scores, to the 31st slot in 2009. This drop was due to standardized tests and the stress they put on the students (1). The failing attempt to improve the test scores have gotten worse as the tests get harder, which also only test a small portion of the curriculum in schools. Math and reading courses have been told to teach different information in order to cover the tests questions, resulting in a lack of regular curricular (2).

(1) http://standardizedtests.procon.org...
(2) http://www.education.com...
Debate Round No. 1
CTierneyNHS

Pro

Standardized testing is a efficient strategy that improves the work, effort, and dedication teachers put into their job. "Education researchers gauge the quality of an individual teacher by looking at student test scores. If scores go up in a teacher's classroom, that's a sign the teacher is doing a good job" (1). This is, and has always been, a just way to measure teachers' ability to build their students knowledge. In addition, most teachers and administrators approve, even, of these standardized tests, "Minnesota teachers and administrators interviewed for a study in the Oct. 28, 2005, issue of the peer-reviewed Education Policy Analysis Archives (EPAA) approved of standardized tests 'by an overwhelming two-to-one margin,' saying they 'improved student attitudes, engagement, and effort.' An oft-cited Arizona State University study in EPAA's Mar. 28, 2002 edition, concluding that testing has little educational merit, has been discredited by educational researchers for poor methodology, and was criticized for wrongly blaming the tests themselves for stagnant test scores, rather than the shortcomings of teachers and schools" (2). Not only does the government believe that standardized test are a quality way of judging teachers based off their students' work, but the majority of teachers do as well.
jbarberNHS

Con

Although teachers find this beneficial, it is discriminatory to children who do not speak English well, exchange students who have trouble with American work, and also children with special needs who need extra help. "English language learners take tests in English before they have mastered the language. Special education students take the same tests as other children, receiving few of the accommodations usually provided to them as part of their Individualized Education Plans (IEP)" (2). The students who require extra help with their work do not receive it during these tests, which is unfair and unjust to them. Furthermore, these tests are unreliable to judge the students on their level of education and their learning performance. "A 2001 study published by the Brookings Institution found that 50-80% of year-over-year test score improvements were temporary and "caused by fluctuations that had nothing to do with long-term changes in learning..." (1). Due to the variety of students who take this test, everyone learns differently and at different paces. The test does not give an overall view of the students learning capacity.
Debate Round No. 2
CTierneyNHS

Pro

I strongly disagree with the fact that standardized testing are discriminatory against students who, for example, are unable to speak English well. In fact, "Standardized tests are inclusive and non-discriminatory because they ensure content is equivalent for all students. Former Washington, DC, schools chancellor Michelle Rhee argues that using alternate tests for minorities or exempting children with disabilities would be unfair to those students: "You can't separate them, and to try to do so creates two, unequal systems, one with accountability and one without it. This is a civil rights issue"" (2). In continuation, the United States is not the only nation using standardized testing: "20 countries studied "have achieved significant, sustained, and widespread gains" on national and international assessments had used "proficiency targets for each school" and "frequent, standardized testing to monitor system progress," according to a Nov. 2010 report by McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm" (2). Standardized testing is not only an efficient way to measure school progress, but it is also a common way.
jbarberNHS

Con

The fact that these tests are all the same difficulty is not fair to the students with slower learning habits and the varying strengths of these students are based off of the lack of regular curriculum in these schools. "A national 2007 study by the Center on Education Policy reported that since 2001, 44% of school districts had reduced the time spent on science, social studies and the arts by an average of 145 minutes per week in order to focus on reading and math. A 2007 survey of 1,250 civics, government, and social studies teachers showed that 75% of those teaching current events less often cited standardized tests as the reason" (1). Because most of the attention of the students is directed towards standardized test information, the children are not learning the basic information. Not only do the students learn nothing from these tests, the government is not benefiting from it either, the billion dollar testing industry is notorious for making costly and time-consuming scoring errors. "NCS Pearson, which has a $254 million contract to administer Florida's Comprehensive Assessment Test, delivered the 2010 results more than a month late and their accuracy was challenged by over half the state's superintendents. After errors and distribution problems in 2004-2005, Hawaii replaced test publisher Harcourt with American Institutes for Research, but the latter had to re-grade 98,000 tests after students received scores for submitting blank test booklets" (2). Overall, it seems as though no one strongly benefits from these tests, all together making them unimportant.
Debate Round No. 3
CTierneyNHS

Pro

No matter the intelligence level of one student versus another, if the nation decided against standardized testing, measurements would seem unfair when basing students and teachers off of tests created by individual school systems. "Standardized tests are reliable and objective measures of student achievement. Without them, policy makers would have to rely on tests scored by individual schools and teachers who have a vested interest in producing favorable results. Multiple-choice tests, in particular, are graded by machine and therefore are not subject to human subjectivity or bias" (2). In order to measure students" knowledge and ability across the country, it is necessary to compare students. The tests which these students take must be the same, therefore no test is more difficult than another. Proponents of standardized testing would agree with this statement due to the fact that "standardized tests are a fair and objective measure of student achievement, that they ensure teachers and schools are accountable to taxpayers, and that the most relevant constituents " parents and students " approve of testing" (2). As stated before, it is very necessary and just for tests across the nation to all be the exact same. If they varied, so would the scores, so would the measurements of the school systems, and so would the tax paying of the schools and teachers.
jbarberNHS

Con

Although the test grades would vary, it is unjust that all the states take different tests, making the comparison of the whole country unreliable and inconsistent. Each state develops its own NCLB standards and assessments, providing no basis for meaningful comparison. "A student sitting for the Connecticut Mastery Test (CMT) is asked a completely different set of questions from a child in California taking the Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) test, and while the former includes essay questions, the latter is entirely multiple-choice" (1). All students should take the same test, only different levels of intelligence should be taken into consideration to test the level of education of a certain child. Standardized tests are also an imprecise measure of teacher performance, yet they are used to reward and punish teachers for the results of their students scores. "According to a September 2010 report by the Annenberg Institute for School Reform, over 17% of Houston teachers ranked in the top category on the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills reading test were ranked among the two lowest categories on the equivalent Stanford Achievement Test. The results were based on the same students, tested in the same subject, at approximately the same time of year, using two different tests" (2). The method of judging a teacher by the scores of these students are not an effective way to do so, making the tests an unimportant task.
Debate Round No. 4
CTierneyNHS

Pro

Standardized testing has been used for many years, so why should the US change the system now if it has obviously been running well this entire time? "Standardized tests have been a part of American education since the mid-1800s. Their use skyrocketed after 2002's No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) mandated annual testing in all 50 states" (2). It is an extremely useful tool when measuring students, teachers, and schools overall. It is ignorant to think that standardized testing is unfair just because one student may have less intelligence than other. In fact, that just proves both the students focus skills during school and their teachers ability to teach. Examples of a pro-testing education leader is Michelle Rhee, the public schools chancellor in Washington, D.C., who said, ""In order to have the privilege of teaching kids you have to be able to show that you can significantly move their academic achievement levels, she says. "And if you can't show that, then you need to find another profession." Rhee launched a controversial evaluation system in Washington where test score growth counts as 50 percent of a teacher's annual performance score" (1). In addition to Rhee"s statement, standardized testing has other positive outcomes: "Standardized tests are not narrowing the curriculum, rather they are focusing it on important basic skills all students need to master. According to a study in the Oct. 28, 2005, issue of the peer-reviewed 'Education Policy Analysis Archives', teachers in four Minnesota school districts said standardized testing had a positive impact, improving the quality of the curriculum while raising student achievement" (2). In conclusion, not only is standardized testing proven to be fair, but it is also proven to be beneficial to everyone involved.
jbarberNHS

Con

What people do not understand is that standardized testing is a waste of time due to the fact that the information on these tests are not relevant to the school curriculum and do not help the students in their life beyond high school whatsoever. Excessive testing may teach children to be good at taking tests, but does not prepare them for productive adult lives. China displaced Finland at the top of the 2009 PISA rankings because, as explained by Jiang Xueqin, Deputy Principal of Peking University High School, "Chinese schools are very good at preparing their students for standardized tests. For that reason, they fail to prepare them for higher education and the knowledge economy."China is trying to depart from the "drill and kill" test prep that Chinese educators admit has produced only "competent mediocrity"" (1). Not only are these tests incompetent, they also create extra and unwanted stress on these children. Standardized testing causes severe stress in younger students. According to education researcher Gregory J. Cizek, anecdotes abound "illustrating how testing... produces gripping anxiety in even the brightest students, and makes young children vomit or cry, or both." On Mar. 14, 2002, the Sacramento Bee reported that "test-related jitters, especially among young students, are so common that the Stanford-9 exam comes with instructions on what to do with a test booklet in case a student vomits on it" (2) Students do not need these tests, the stress that comes along with it, nor do they benefit the students in the least. Overall, standardized testing is not important to a students learning curriculum and should be taken away.
Debate Round No. 5
No comments have been posted on this debate.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Ameliamk1 4 years ago
Ameliamk1
CTierneyNHSjbarberNHSTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Well argued and cited by both sides, but Pro just managed to take the debate by succesfully rebutting the discrimination point by Con.