The Instigator
juliejaye
Pro (for)
Losing
7 Points
The Contender
saleibow
Con (against)
Winning
19 Points

High school students in the US ought to be required to pass standardized exit exams to graduate

Do you like this debate?NoYes+0
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Vote Here
Pro Tied Con
Who did you agree with before the debate?
Who did you agree with after the debate?
Who had better conduct?
Who had better spelling and grammar?
Who made more convincing arguments?
Who used the most reliable sources?
Reasons for your voting decision
1,000 Characters Remaining
The voting period for this debate does not end.
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/27/2009 Category: Education
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 13,617 times Debate No: 9849
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
Votes (5)

 

juliejaye

Pro

I believe that children should be required to pass standardized tests before graduating high school. Every hs has its own curriculum. We need a uniform way to measure basic skills. All children should be required to pass a uniform test before receiving their high school diploma. In this way, when they are released into the real world, they are assured to have basic capability in reading, writing and arithmetic.
saleibow

Con

My particular claim is that students should not have to pass a standardized test before graduating high school. A standardized test is not always the most accurate way to check a child's skills. Students from across the United States are all taught different subject matters and skills. It is more important that a child is doing acceptable in the subjects they are being taught. This is not to say students do not need capabilities in reading, writing and arithmetic. My grounds are in the two examples to follow.
One particular example of how standardized testing is not the best method for checking competency is with college admissions. While the standardized test of the SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test also known as Scholastic Assessment Test) is required it is no longer seen as the most important factor. A student's grade point average and class rank are held in higher regard. Students still must pass tests and assignments given by their teachers to pass a class, and ultimately to graduate.
Another reason why a standardized test would be a detriment is seen in the results of elementary school standardized testing. Students are now required to pass standardized testing in order to matriculate according to the No Child Left Behind program. As a result teachers have begun teaching according to the tests. They are teaching students what will be on the test, rather than what they actually should be learning to become proficient in the areas of reading writing and arithmetic. The results show students are passing the tests but not competent in the subjects.
My warrant links these grounds to my claim and shows that as demonstrated a standardized exit exam ought not to be required to graduate. I would also like to take the time to point out some flaws in your argument. You say that you believe students need to pass a standardized exit exam to graduate. However, I wonder if you are an authority on this matter in the education field. If not, your opinion is the only evidence you provide. You provide no actual facts to back up your claim. Also, you are forcing a dilemma by creating the dichotomy of saying there is two options, pass or fail, when in reality there are many ways to measure a student's capabilities.
You also participate in many fallacies that render your argument invalid. You speak of these standardized exit exams but there is much ambiguity in this phrase I am confused over. When would these students take these exams? Would they only test reading, writing, and arithmetic or would other subjects be included? How long would these tests be and what types of problems would be included? I believe you are making a hasty generalization (which is a fallacy) as you do not use enough samples to back up your argument. You also take part in the transfer fallacy (composition form) by believing that since a student can one time pass an exam they are completely competent in these skills.
Debate Round No. 1
juliejaye

Pro

While I think it is unfortunate that some teachers ony "teach" for the test, that doesn't mean the test is faulty.......it means the teacher is. Standardized tests are great because if you take human scoring out of the question the results are easy to assess and document. However, if a test has essay questions or something other than multiple choice or true/false answering you have to have humans score the results. If computer scoring is used the results are very clear. These tests are also economical to make, give and score.

Another advantage is that while scoring of the individual may not be completely perfect ,it does give a good indicator of the school or class average. This helps school administrators know better what is working and what isn't within their curriculum framework.

You say in your argument that "students from across the United States are all taught different subject matters and skills." My point is that there should be BASICS that are enforced and proficiency in them realized before graduation.

The idea of standardized testing is to remove subjective factors from assessment. As a result, standardized tests provide several advantages to admissions committees and others who need to evaluate and compare the people who take these tests.

You say that standardized tests are not important in the college admission process. I beg to differ. The SATs and ACTs are not optional for universities. There is a range that they expect. Excellent grades and poor scores will not secure admission. I am not stating that great standardized test scores and poor grades will.The standardization of these tests ensures that test-takers are being measured objectively on the same material. The grading is standardized, so test scores are the same no matter who or what is scoring them. This removes any bias that might stem from the scorer. On the other hand, tests that use subjective grading might yield scores that vary widely depending on who is scoring them.

Standardized tests supposedly predict how well students will perform in the schools to which they're applying. For instance, the MCAT is designed to test the skills necessary to perform well in medical school. While a good MCAT score doesn't necessarily guarantee a successful medical school experience, studies have shown that standardized tests predict success more accurately than more subjective assessments, such as interviews. In fact, interviews have been shown to have only as much accuracy as chance in predicting a student's success at a particular school.

Another advantage of standardized testing is that the results can be generalized and repeated, which shows a degree of validity and reliability.

An additional benefit stems from aggregation, which provides a more accurate assessment of a particular group's skills and knowledge. One individual test-taker's score may not indicate how well the test measures the body of knowledge it's designed for. However, enough people take these tests so that their aggregate scores can provide useful information, because the percentage of assessment error decreases as the sample size increases.

While many people criticize standardized tests as creating a bias along a number of factors, the tests nonetheless provide a more standardized tool in comparing test-takers than many other elements that admissions committees consider when evaluating applicants.
saleibow

Con

While it does mean that the teacher is faulty for teaching to the test, it does not mean it is a rare occurrence. If a teacher does not comply with these standards and does not teach to the test, and therefore students do poorly, it will reflect badly on the teacher. With the economy in a perilous state even the education system is suffering. Teachers do not want to give administration a reason to fire them, and if their students do poorly it will seem as though they are not an effective teacher.

I am not saying standardized tests should never be given. I agree that they can help a school see where there are flaws within the curriculum. Also, to clarify I believe the SATs and ACTs are important but I am saying they are not the main or sole consideration. Due to value restandardization our societies' values have changed over time to believe an average of grades are more important than one. Therefore one test should not decide whether a student is allowed to graduate. I feel you have mistaken my point in thinking standardized tests are terrible and should never be given. However, there are many tests that can be given to measure the body of knowledge of a group that are repeatable with validity and reliability.

Your reference to the MCATs is in fact a fallacy as it is completely irrelevant in this argument. You attempt to bring up a parallel case but there is too much dissimilarity. We are debating tests high school students take, not those preparing to enter the medical field. Also, an MCAT is truly objective. As in subjects such as biology there is only one right answer. For example, if asked how many bones are in the human body the only correct answer is 206. However, we are discussing the basics of reading, writing, and arithmetic. In writing (and sometimes reading) there are open-ended questions, which must be scored by humans.

I find your main flaw to be that you feel these tests are not subjective. You even go as far to say human scoring is taken out of the equation. When scoring these questions it is not only subjective, but also prone to many errors. I will refer to someone who has and is also an expert in the field. According to a September article in the New York Times by Todd Farley (upcoming author of the book "Making the Grades: My Misadventures in the Standardized Testing Industry") there are many problems. An excerpt of his article says "Because our company's deadline for returning the tests was that day, my colleague and I had to score them even though we were already well into happy hour." This is suggesting that not only was the testing subjective but the graders were forced to complete tests while intoxicated. Another example in the same article states that a student had written an essay on an inappropriate topic and received a zero for that section. The article states that the essay was well written, just inappropriate. So once again I ask how is this an objective way to grade a test that will decide whether a student graduates?

Rather than have one test determine the future of a student, let the teachers of that student decide. They see the child everyday, not read their test once from opposite sides of the coast, while locked in a room, trying to get through as many essays as possible. A standardized test should not be required to graduate, as there are too many flaws in the system.
Debate Round No. 2
juliejaye

Pro

You state, "Rather than have one test determine the future of a student, let the teachers of that student decide" .That could possibly be the dumbest thing I've ever heard. You suggest that a teacher decides..what could be more subjective than that? Teachers are not g-ds. They can not shut down their emotions/opinions.
Standardized tests are tests that are given to every student and consist of the same questions. They are then tested and scored in exactly the same manner.
A test has standards for everyone.........no shades of grey.........your score is your score. A teacher is helpless to be unaffected by personal choice. It is impossible fora teacher to shut down his emotions and not reward with better grades (and passing) those they like better
I do feel that essays on "standardized tests" should be abolished, because grading them would be subjective. But two plus two always equals four........which proves that standardized testing is based on comprehension. There is a correct answer for every question. No debate.
saleibow

Con

While teachers cannot shut down their emotions the difference is that multiple teachers will be deciding. One teacher may be biased but it is not one person who will make the final decision. Whereas one person would be reading the essays and deciding on an appropriate score, there are usually more than three teachers of one student for different subjects. A team can work with a student who is struggling and a consensus can be made whether the skills are satisfactory or not.
The fact that the scoring is not completely objective also is an added bonus. If the student has the necessary skills to graduate, but simply goes through a period of extenuating circumstances where they are distracted, the teachers can take this into consideration. A trauma in someone's life can cause them to do poorly on a test. They may have ample time to write a paper but a time constriction as short as 45 minutes can be stressful. It is true in real life certain professions may require this short term writing, but the reality is the majority will provide more time.
Contrary to what you are saying I do believe there are shades of grey in the education system. You are further restating my point that there is simple answers for math and some of the sciences. However you have failed to provide an example of the black and white answers for reading and writing. I feel this lack of inclusion of your own example in reading and writing is due to the fact you could not come up with an answer. I am also surprised that you did not attempt to counter argue many of my points.
Your final argument is difficult to debate as you make minimal points. Also your idea that there is always a correct answer for every question is automatically false. You have failed to use a qualifier to show this is not always true. Your statement that there is no other option shows a closed-minded approach, false for the fact that it cannot always be the case. You have brought up many interesting ideas in your arguments however you fail to provide backing. Your points stand alone and I feel in order to make valid arguments further research should be provided.
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by Chrysippus 7 years ago
Chrysippus
C: Con. "That could possibly be the dumbest thing I've ever heard." -juliejaye. Your personal lack of experience in listening to stupidity has no bearing on this debate; nor is it an excuse to insult your opponent's intelligence.

SP/G: Equally bad, format wise. A few spelling errors, not bad; but people, please, if you want your argument to be read, DO NOT put it all in one block! Please!

Spaces make things easier to read.

Easier on the eyes,and on the mind.

Think of it as Zen for the reader.

R2 was nicer; why couldn't it all have been like that?

Labeling your contentions, refutations, conclusions, and what-have-you also makes for more tranquil voters.

Nobody got this point.

A: Con, barely.

S: ? Sources? You both are infalliable; no need for verification of your opinions by outside sources... don't muddle the issue with facts!

Or, at least, it seems that is what you both think, as NOT ONE LONELY SOURCE was used in this entire debate!

Saleibow, you even critizise your opponent for not backing up her argument with facts (R3), when you yourself never cited one source for your "facts".
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by PFDebater993 7 years ago
PFDebater993
juliejayesaleibowTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Vote Placed by juliejaye 7 years ago
juliejaye
juliejayesaleibowTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:70 
Vote Placed by Nails 7 years ago
Nails
juliejayesaleibowTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:05 
Vote Placed by Chrysippus 7 years ago
Chrysippus
juliejayesaleibowTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:04 
Vote Placed by saleibow 7 years ago
saleibow
juliejayesaleibowTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:07