On balance, standardized testing is beneficial to K-12 education in the United States
Round 1: Present Debate Cases
Round 2: Recognize and attach opponent's arguments
Round 3: Defend your case
Round 4: Voters(Why you win)
My partner and I negate today"s resolution and stand resolved, On balance, standardized testing is NOT beneficial to K-12 education in the United States.
Obs 1: Even though the SAT and ACT are considered "Standardized Tests", not all students take them, so the Con will ignore any arguments made about them.
Obs 2: If the Con can prove that there are more harms than benefits, it should be enough for the Con to win.
Contention 1: Standardized Testing results in incomplete education
A: Standardized testing alters school curriculum to the detriment of a well-rounded education
Lisa Adams, Research Associate, Joseph Pedulla, Professor at Boston College, George Madaus, Professor at Boston College, 2003, Theory into practice, 42.1, p. 18-29
Quote "Much of the research on state testing programs addresses their effects on what is taught. A common finding is that teachers report giving greater attention to tested content areas. For example, of the Virginia survey by Myran & Workman(1999), more than 80% indicated that the state Standards of Learning (SOL) test had impacted their instruction, particularly with regard to the content focus of daily lessons."
B: Low-income and minority students are hurt the most by the emphasis on standardized test scores.
"How Standardized Testing Damages Education (Updated July 2012)." FairTest. The National Center for Fair and Open Testing, 28 Aug. 2007. Web. 03 Nov. 2015. <http://fairtest.org...;.
Quote"Students from low-income and minority-group backgrounds, English language learners, and students with disabilities, are more likely to be denied diplomas, retained in grade, placed in a lower track, or unnecessarily put in education programs. This ensures they will fall further and further behind their peers. Many drop out, some ending up in the "school-to-prison pipeline." On the other hand, children from white, middle and upper income backgrounds are more likely to be placed in "gifted and talented" or college preparatory programs where they are challenged to read, explore, investigate, think and progress rapidly."-Champ Briefs Pg. 147
MPK: Standardized testing can harm the well-rounded education curriculum teachers have been teaching. Standardized testing also hurts low-income and minority-group backgrounds and discriminates against them, creating even greater achievement gaps.
Contention 2: Because of the limitations of standardized testing, it makes a poor measurement of actual learning.
A: One size fits all just doesn"t work
W. James Popham, Emeritus Professor in the Graduate School of Education at the University of California, Los Angeles. Why Standardized Tests Don't Measure Educational Quality. March 1999 | Volume 56 | Number 6 Using Standards and
Assessments Pages 8-15.http://www.ascd.org...'t-Measure-Educational-Quality.aspx
Quote"At a very general level, the goals that educators pursue in different settings are reasonably similar. For instance, you can be sure that all schools will give attention to language arts, mathematics, and so on. But that's at a general level. At the level where it really makes a difference to instruction, in the classroom, there are significant differences in the educational objectives being sought. And that presents a problem to those who must sell standardized achievement tests."
B. Tests do not cover what is actually taught.
James Popham continues.
Quote"To illustrate the seriousness of the mismatch that can occur between what's taught locally and what's tested through standardized achievement tests, educators ought to know about an important study at Michigan State University reported in 1983 by Freeman. They concluded that between 50 and 80 percent of what was measured on the tests was not suitably addressed in the textbooks.The proportion of topics presented on a standardized test that received more than cursory treatment in each textbook was never higher than 50 percent."
MPK: Standardized testing does not cover much of what is taught by teachers, and are too limited. Therefore, such tests cannot accurately measure actual learning by students
Contention 3: Standardized testing hurts teachers
A:Teachers lose control of the curriculum.
Segall, Avner. [Professor at Michigan State University]. "Teachers" Perceptions of the Impact of State-Mandated Standardized Testing: The Michigan Educational Assessment Program (MEAP) as a Case Study of Consequences." Theory & Research in Social Education. 2003. Web. Accessed November 4, 2015.
Quote "Exploring the relationship between teachers and standardized testing, and using the Michigan Evaluation Assessment Program (MEAP) and the discourses surrounding it as a case study of consequences, this study both combines findings from previous studies on teachers and testing and adds to them. Like McNeil"s (2000) study, it points out how standardized testing is not simply an evaluator of a curriculum but its creator."
B: Teachers lose control of both content and scope
"How Standardized Tests Shape--and Limit--Student Learning." National Council of Teachers of English. James R. Squire Office of Policy Research. 2014. Web. Accessed 8 November 2015. http://www.ncte.org...- nov2014/CC0242PolicyStandardized.pdf
Quote"Standardized tests narrow the entire curriculum in many schools, often squeezing out subjects such as music, art, foreign languages, and, especially in elementary grades, social studies, because they are not included in tests. For ELA teachers, these tests also lead to subject-specific narrowing. ELA teachers are required to focus their instruction on the literacy skills measured on standardized tests. Since reading is more prominent than writing in most tests, teachers spend more time on reading rather than writing, usually focusing on comprehension, not higher-order critical reading skills."
MPK: Standardized testing forces teachers to teach to a test instead of being allowed to facilitate learning in their preferred ways. This leads to teachers feeling inadequate and struggling to teach a curriculum they didn"t create.
Conclusion: As my partner and I have proven, standardized testing is NOT beneficial to K-12 education. Standardized testing hurts minorities and low income students, and it does not cover what is taught, which causes teaching to the test. Please vote Con, because standardized testing has not been beneficial and will not be beneficial to K-12 education. Please vote Con.
Thank you opponent for debating this topic with me. In his round, I will be pointing out some information and then stating my own contentions.
Since my opponent did not provide any definitions, I will now do so.
Standardized testing- A type of test that has the same questions for every student, depending on age and grade level. It is scored in a manner which allows the results of students to be compared.
Even though the first round is about stating points, I feel that it is crucial for me to point out PLAGIARISM.
My opponent has given a quote by Lisa Adams. That quote was in Part A of Contention 1. And I would like to point out that my opponent did not site a source. You can compare his quote with the one www.boledebate.com/uploads/2/.../3-pf-standardized-testing-starter.docx. There is no difference.
But now, to return to the discussion.
Contention #1- Taking the tests can make something be remembered by the child. http://www.theatlantic.com...,
"Henry L. Roediger III, a cognitive psychologist at Washington University, studies how the brain stores, and later retrieves, memories. He compared the test results of students who used common study methods—such as re-reading material, highlighting, reviewing and writing notes, outlining material and attending study groups—with the results from students who were repeatedly tested on the same material. When he compared the results, Roediger found, “Taking a test on material can have a greater positive effect on future retention of that material than spending an equivalent amount of time restudying the material.” Remarkably, this remains true “even when performance on the test is far from perfect and no feedback is given on missed information.”"
If the only way to make a child retain information is taking a standardized test, then why not? Schools are created to help children learn. And if the way to achieve a strong education system is by testing knowledge and encouraging hard work, the tests must stay. psychologists such as the one I have brought up above admit that while students may not enjoy standardized testing in particular, they at the end reach their goal- to be able to remember information they learn in school and to be able to apply it.
Contention #2- Allow the comparison of scores of kids from different districts.
" Public school students in the state of Texas are all required to take the same state standardized tests. This means that a student in Amarillo can be compared to a student in Dallas. Being able to accurately compare data is invaluable and is a major reason that the Common Core State Standards have been adopted. These will allow for a more accurate comparison between states."
With standardized testing, people can compare the intellectual differences between one another. In order, to know what level we are at, people must assess us based on a comparison to other people our age. Knowing a straight percent is not enough to know whether or not you are on the correct learning track or whether you are perhaps suffering in your learniang skills. Someone may take a test in New York and receive at 85. However, most of the other New Yorkers will receive 100. If you do not know how others are doing at education, you will not know how well you are doing on a larger scale.
Contention #3- Proffesionals and parents support stndardized testing.
"Multiple-choice tests, in particular, are graded by machine and therefore are not subject to human subjectivity or bias A 2005 Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup poll found that 60% of public school parents say the emphasis on testing in their local schools is either "about right" or that there is "not enough" testing."
"In a 2009 Scholastic/Gates Foundation survey, 81% of US public school teachers said state-required standardized tests were at least "somewhat important” as a measure of students’ academic achievement, and 27% said they were "very important " or "absolutely essential." 73% of teachers surveyed in a Mar. 2002 Public Agenda study said they "have not neglected regular teaching duties for test preparation.""
Many proffesionals admit that standardized tests are beneficial to child learning. Statistics show it! Parents understand it! Teachers see benefits! The education system is currently reaching its climax because of standardized testing. With this huge support of proffesionals, there will be no reason to stop testing.
Contention #4- Standardized testing is a huge, indisposable industry.
"The National Board on Educational Testing and Public Policy at Boston College compiled data from The Bowker Annual, a compendium of the dollar-volume in test sales each year, and reported that while test sales in 1955 were $7 million (adjusted to 1998 dollars), that figure was $263 million in 1997, an increase of more than 3,000 percent. Today, press reports put the value of the testing market anywhere from $400 million to $700 million."
Money, another benefit of standardized testing. The test industry earns a lot of money on a yearly basis. This money can be used to make adjustments of out education systems. If we modify and perfect our system of learning, it will be possible to make sure that testing is even more efficient than it is currently. Investments into the future is a solution which will fit everyone.
Contention #5- Students consider standardized testing fair and square.
"Public Agenda survey of 1,342 public school students in grades 6-12 found that 71% of students think the number of tests they have to take is "about right" and 79% believe test questions are fair. The 2002 edition of the survey found that "virtually all students say they take the tests seriously and more than half (56 percent) say they take them very seriously.""
Before moving on to my final arguments, I would like to clarify one thing. Students dont enjoy these tests. They consider them fair. In fact, the student body should not like testing. They should feel that it is FAIR. However, they should like learning, The enjoying of learning at the feeling that tests are fair are corrolated.
Contention #6- Standardized tests raise students confidence.
: a feeling or belief that you can do something well or succeed at something
: a feeling or belief that someone or something is good or has the ability to succeed at something
Lisa Adams, Research Associate, Joseph Pedulla, Professor at Boston College, George Madaus, Professor at Boston College, 2003, Theory into practice, 42.1, p. 18-29
I would also like to point out that the link my opponent has posted is not valid.
May I also ask for the source for your definition of Standardized Testing?
Contention 1: Notice how my opponent said that the only way for a child to retain information is through a standardized test. However, that is not always true. Although there are students who study and remember information, many teachers will FOCUS on the test, and afterwards, forget about making sure the students remember. This is called teaching to the test. Many students will remember the information ONLY for the test, and not for remembering information in the future.
Contention 2: Yes, standardized tests can compare students, but is that necessarily good? Like you stated in your last contention, standardized tests can BOOST your confidence, but when you are compared with other students for other districts, doesn't that tear down your confidence, knowing that colleges are looking for smart people and you just aren't the smartest. Also, as I pointed out in my case, standardized testing can discriminate against students who have just moved here from foreign countries, or their families are too poor to help provide a stable learning system. This can create achievement gaps between them and middle and upper class students who are given plenty of tools and guides to help their education.
Contention 3: As my entire contention three says, teachers are often hurt by standardized tests, because it forces them to teach something they aren't used to teaching. I would also like to say that my opponent's "professionals" are just teachers and parents. And although they are somewhat connected to standardized tests(their students take the tests), they don't have the right to be called "professionals". Adding to that, notice how the resolution says "beneficial". This means that my opponent should focus on how it is "beneficial", not teachers having a bias towards standardized testing.
Contention 4: I have done my own part of research. and have found that standardized testing is actually only a quarter of a percent of the total US education budget. The USA spends more than a billion dollars on Standardized Testing ALONE! Can you imagine what else we can do with this money, instead of using it on tests that students forget about in a month afterwards anyways? We can help support the fight against ISIS, we can advance our research on Ebola. We could do all sorts of things with the billion dollars we spend EACH year on standardized testing.
Contention 5: Just because a test is "fair", does not mean it is "beneficial". A fair test could compose of random questions that anyone could answer, but that doesn't make it "beneficial". This argument is not relevant to this debate
Contention 6: My opponent is using statistics to dehumanize students who have suicide. as they say, "On the news, you probably see stories about kids commiting suicide because of standardized testing. Those cases however, are extremely rare. What is common, is self esteem causing confidence. People tend to over exaggerate the small examples of bad things happening but tend to ignore positivity." Basically, what they are trying to say is that it's okay for a small fraction of students to suicide(STUDENTS!) because it helps the majority have confidence, which it doesn't necessarily, as I stated in my attack on their case. I would also like to point out that my opponent does not have any source or quote on this contention, making it a bias and frankly unfair contention. If my opponent were to have this contention standing at the end of the debate, I would like to kindly ask the judges to see that this contention has no warrant and should be ignored.
My opponent has plagiarized from http://webcache.googleusercontent.com...
If one doesn't site the link, it is still considered PLAGIARISM.
Now onto through refutations of my opponents points:
The counter repudiations will be in round 3.
I would now like to begin:
Contention #1- Standardized Testing results in incomplete education
Part A- Standardized testing alters school curriculum to the detriment of a well-rounded education. The talked a lot about how teachers only prepare students for the tests therefore stopping a well rounded education. As I understood this point, teachers don't teach students everything, they prepare students for the test. However, on the contrary, standardized tests ensure a well rounded, balanced education. What is on the test is what the student needs to know which once again leads to a well rounded education.
Consider a test of reading comprehension. Teachers may prepare their students by working on sample problems. Teachers may spend time instructing students on how to identify a passage’s main idea. They may also show them how to use context clues to figure out unknown words. Further, teachers may show students how to identify supporting evidence or conclusion sentences. These critical reading skills are precisely what teachers should be teaching anyway; in this light, teaching to the test may not be such a bad thing after all.Another criticism of teaching to the test is that other untested subjects do not receive as much attention. Rather than spending extra time at recess or in music or art, students practice for reading, math, science or social studies tests. Again, is this a bad thing? Students need a balanced curriculum, but the best thing we can do is to ensure that they are developing the cognitive abilities and skills that will prepare them for success in the workforce or higher education.
Part B- Standardized testing mostly hurt minorities and the poor. However, I once again dont see the link. Studying is not about your skin color or your financial class. It is about hard work and dedication. If the poor work really hard to get a 300 on their NJAsk, theu can do it. If they dont, they will blatantly fail. The same goes for anyone in the upper class. If someone from the upper class works hard, they will get a scholarship and success. If they decide to waste their life while being a student, they will also receive the school to prison pipeline. Its not about heritage, its about dedication. Now onto a quick note about the disabled and language learners. Such people are given the easier gradient of the test or if the gradient stays the same, the expectation falls giving them the same chance for success.
Contention #2- Because of the limitations of standardized testing, it makes a poor measurement of actual learning.
Part A- One size does not fit all. My opponent went on about how the educators try to fit for the test. However, my opponents assertion and his evidence are completely irrelevant. And yet, I will attempt a thorough refuation. The one fit all approach and teachers trying to fit the tests is beneficial. What is on the test is what teachers should teach. For instance, on the third grade NJASk or PARK Test, students would be asked to measure angles and perhaps to multiply 5 digit numbers. Without the test, would the teacher be teaching the student 2+2? No. The hypotenuse? No. Teachers would be going over 5 digit number multiplication and measuring angles. About the one size fits all approach... Students who are on the same grade level are expected to know the same thing and the one size fits all in this case is a strong benefit of the education system.
Part B- Tests do not cover material that is actually taught.
However, tests cover what is taught. The teachers spend a lot of time preparing students to take the test. Educators give out practice tests to give students a feel about what the tests are about. If afterall what is on a standardized test is not knows by the student, then there is probably a problem. The teacher probably does not teach what is needed. Standardized tests have material that the student NEEDS to know. If they dont know it, school curriculum needs to be changed.
Contention #3- Standardized testing hurts teachers.
Part A- Teachers loose control of the curriculum. However, as I have mentioned numerous times, the teachers decide what they teach students and so does the education system. Of course, there are certain basics. These basics are tested just to make sure that the teachers are doing what they need. Standardized tests breifly go over what was studied throughout the year. If a teacher taught the required curriculum, whats the worry? None. Teachers dont loose any control over curriculum. WHAT THE TEACHERS TEACH IS ON THE TEST. Standardized tests are based on what teachers are expected to teach by the program. Tests dont provide the curriculum. The tests rely on the teachers and education program. In simple language, what the teacher SHOULD teach is in the test. If the teacher is teaching grade appropriate information, there will be no detriment to teachers. What the pro stated was that standardized testing directs the curriculum. However, the standardized testing is what teachers need to teach nevertheless.
Part B- Teachers loose control of content and scope. They talked about how activities such as art will be squeezed out of the program. However, that is absolutely untrue. Activities such as art are required for the student program. The whole day is not spent on language arts and math. There is a schedule for every singl homeroom.
(Throughout the round, I have not refuted the assertion, but the parts behind since they are the main factors)
Thank you judges, vote pro.
Contention 1 A: Having teachers prepare students for the test causes teaching to the test. This changes the curriculum, not allowing students to learn other things, such as fine arts. When you say that what is on the test is what the students need in life is not always true, as some students are not as interested in math or language arts as others.
Contention 1 B: Here is the link I posted ORIGINALLY:
"How Standardized Testing Damages Education (Updated July 2012)." FairTest. The National Center for Fair and Open Testing, 28 Aug. 2007. Web. 03 Nov. 2015. http://fairtest.org...
Also, I am not saying that poorer students will not be able to do well. What I am trying to say is that it is easier for whites, middle, and upper background students to do well, because they have access to better education. It is harder for someone to do well on a test if they do not have to money to buy materials to help them study. However, other students who are richer will be able to afford these books and will therefore have a better chance of doing well. You defined standardized testing as followed:
A type of test that has the same questions for every student, depending on age and grade level. It is scored in a manner which allows the results of students to be compared.
This means that all students, even the disabled or language learners, will have to take the same test. Colleges will look at these tests, and may not know that these students are disabled or have just moved to the United States. Therefore, the disabled and language learners are not always given an equal chance for success.
Contention 2 A- As I stated in my quote, different schools will have different curriculums, and trying to create ONE test to fit for all of these different settings makes it nearly impossible to compare scores. You stated that schools will teach the same thing, but as I stated before, this is generally not true with different teachers and different styles of teaching.
Contention 2 B-As my Contention 2A said, different school have different curriculums and even if teachers did teach to the test, which I have already proven to be bad, it would limit the curriculum and students will be worse off if they wanted to learn things other than language arts, math, and science.
Contention 3 A-The teachers actually do NOT decide what to teach the students. There is always a guidebook for what to teach at a certain time. These teachers must follow these guidebooks but can teach it their own way. It is not always true that teachers teach what is on the test. As I said in my Contention 2, different school have different curriculums, so making a test to fit all of these different schools is impossible.
Contention 3 B- My opponent stated that activities such as art are still required for the student program. However, before, they said that it is good that these activities are taken out because they are not part of standardized tests. But students who wish to take these classes are not given the chance because standardized testing has already squeezed out these activities.
Thank you. Vote con.
Once again, con does agree to his plagiarism! He admitted that he put absolutely NO link and I am glad we could not put a period to that branch of the this discussion by agreeing that there has been plagiarism.
And now to move onto first counter refutation and then counter- counter refutation.
So without any further ado let me begin with counter refutations:
To refute my first contention, my opponent stated:
"Although there are students who study and remember information, many teachers will FOCUS on the test, and afterwards, forget about making sure the students remember. This is called teaching to the test. Many students will remember the information ONLY for the test, and not for remembering information in the future."
However, a.) my opponent provided absolutely no evidence to show that students forget things right after the test. If you prepare a student to the test, the student will learn the material. Schools don't hand out the tests and go over every problem. They teach the information during the year and perhaps spend a month or so before the tests for preparation. That preparation is usually a summary of what was learned through out the school year. Therefore, even though yes, teachers teach information that will most likely be on the test, they don't just go through the tests. They give students worksheets and extensive practice to prepare for the test and memorize the information to use in the future.
To refute my second contention, my opponent stated:
" When you are compared with other students for other districts, doesn't that tear down your confidence, knowing that colleges are looking for smart people and you just aren't the smartest."
However, people must learn to face the facts. Colleges should know how students do on a scale compared to a larger amount of students. If someone just doesn't do well enough, compared to the nation, its their fault. Nobody is stupid. There are some people who don't work hard enough. In addition, losing, while this may seem illogical may boost confidence. When people loose or do not do as well as they hoped, they look forward to further improvement. And that self confidence and ability not to give up is a skill taught by standardized testing.
They refuted my third contention by stating that
"As my entire contention three says, teachers are often hurt by standardized tests, because it forces them to teach something they aren't used to teaching. "
Every teacher is allowed to teach in a different style. It is about what they teach. And the educational guidelines suggest the same thing for every single teacher. At the end, if they want to let teachers teach with completely no restrictions, they are looking to abolish the whole education system which in fact is quite efficient. Its quite clear that the whole education system can not be banned. Teachers must teach information at an appropriate gradient for each class.
They refuted my fourth contention by suggesting that
" I have done my own part of research. and have found that standardized testing is actually only a quarter of a percent of the total US education budget. The USA spends more than a billion dollars on Standardized Testing ALONE! "
A quarter of a percent of the budget. And then, they state that it costs 1 billion. But wait? Doesn't that mean that we make a profit? Then, my opponent goes on mentioning that we can spend this money to fight against ISIS. I would love to help stop ISIS. However, I am not apathetic to education and I am sure that the readers are not either. Next thing my opponent will suggest, is the implementation of child labor. I consider it very important to see what students have learned throughout the year and how productive the teachers have been.
They refuted my 5th contention by saying:
" Just because a test is "fair", does not mean it is "beneficial". "
However, when students think its fair, it is implied that they admit that it is correct and that it is helpful. Students consider these questions fair which proves how not harmful these tests are.
They refuted my sixth contention by saying that
" Basically, what they are trying to say is that it's okay for a small fraction of students to suicide(STUDENTS!) because it helps the majority have confidence, which it doesn't necessarily, as I stated in my attack on their case."
However, all my assertions have been proof of how standardized testing is a benefit and how students and professionals see it as a benefit. The small fraction of students have committed suicide. But lets think for a moment. Why is that number so small? Because the students who end their life because of a test are mentally ill and should have consulted a professional.
Now onto counter-counter refutations.
They rebuilt their point by saying
This changes the curriculum, not allowing students to learn other things, such as fine arts.
However, fine arts and other activities will still be in the school curriculum. Teachers blatantly will not spend the whole study day to prepare for tests. Fine arts are a required part of each students program. Math and language arts are everywhere. A large portion of the students will engage in professions which will require these two subjects. Many tests also include social studies and science.
In part B, my opponent went on about how students will not be able to afford text books. However, students, rich or poor will find a way to get a text book to study if they want. There are public libraries, many schools give out free textbooks and kids can borrow from their peer. Therefore, standardized testing are about how determined one is, not about money. About disorders, many such kids are not given standardized tests.
In Contention 2, Part A, they state how one size does not fit all and that does not work. However, there are guidelines for what a teacher should teach to whatever grade. And the teacher should follow those guidelines. Whenever a student is above his grade in a subject, he is technically in a different grade and takes the appropriate level test.
In Contention 2 Part B, they state how schools have different curriculums. However, for the school, there are certain guidelines for what students should know in their grade level. The test matches the guidelines. In fourth grade, the test is what the student learned in 4th grade. The same goes for other tests.
In Contention 3 Part A, they completely agree with what I am saying. There are guidelines. They would be here even without the test. The test, based on gradients and levels, is a recap of whether these guideline have been fulfilled or not. In standardized testing, the educational program makes a check on whether educational goals have been fulfilled to the needed extent or not.
In Contention 3 Part B, they talk about paradox in my speech. Which is fact, has not happened. We never stated that these activities should be eliminated. After all, only a portion of the school day will be spent on prep and education. If one wants to take these courses, they can.
And now to rebuild upon my own points.
Contention 1- Taking the tests can make something be remembered by the child.
Contention 2- Allow the comparison of scores of kids from different districts.
Contention 3- Proffesionals and parents support standardized testing.
Contention 4- Standardized testing is a huge, indisposable industry.
Contention 5- Students consider standardized testing fair and square.
Contention 6- Standardized tests raise students confidence.
WarDraco101 forfeited this round.
Vane01 forfeited this round.