The Instigator
ToastOfDestiny
Con (against)
Winning
11 Points
The Contender
Its-you-or-me
Pro (for)
Losing
7 Points

Public High School Students and Exit Exams

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
ToastOfDestiny
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/29/2009 Category: Education
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 8,595 times Debate No: 9872
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (17)
Votes (3)

 

ToastOfDestiny

Con

To clarify, this is the LD debate topic for September and October of 2009. Both debaters shall be debating "resolved: public high school students in the United States ought not be required to pass standardized exit exams to graduate."

This debate shall follow a slightly altered LD format. R1 is for introductions and no arguments. In R2-4, both sides will present cases, starting with Neg. The structure should follow:

R1: Introductions
R2: NC; AC/AR
R3: NR; 2AR
R4: 2NR; 3AR

Both sides should present LD cases and argue in the spirit of LD (no plans/counterplans etc.). This means that Aff and Neg must both present and argue for value structures in addition to their main body of arguments.

If you have any questions or comments, please post them before accepting this debate.
Its-you-or-me

Pro

Hello everyone it's been awhile hasn't it....don't think any of you remember me. Any way I think my opponent for making this an LD debate and wish him luck in further rounds. Lets get started

I affirm the resolution Resolved: Public High School students in the United States ought not to be required to pass Standardize Exams to graduate.

Before we start this debate I would like to define the following:
Required: By necessity or law
Public High School: A secondary school in the United States supported by public funds and providing free education for children of a community or district.

Standardize Exit Exams a test a student may be required to take in high school in order to show proficiency in a class or to exhibit basic proficiency in math, English, Science and other core subjects to gain a high school diploma.

Graduate: To be granted an academic degree or diploma

Moving on to my value for this round, I will be using that of Societal Progress. By having a Standardize test that is supposed to measure the quality of education be flawed, which I will further elaborate in my case, and do more harm than good does not help education the slightest bit and adds no value to high school diplomas that students have to take standardize test to achieve. Students are walking away with diplomas in hands but with limited knowledge. This is because the tests are extremely easy and can be lowered to the states liking which awards the school and not the students. If we were to get rid of Exit exams we would have students actually walking away with valued diplomas that can actually contribute to society bettering it as a whole than those who have none.

For my criterion I will be using that of Pragmatism. In an ideal world we would have just one national Standardize Test so that the states wouldn't have control over them so the couldn't fluctuate the bar to make it unchallenging and extremely easy. But unfortunately we don't and unfortunately they do. There are studies showing that Exit Exams harm students and teach them nothing. So if we were to be pragmatic about this we would see that these are not working and not helping society progress and need to be rid off.

Con 1: Exit Exams are flawed and do more harm than good to students. Even though students are passing Exit exams, according to the National Center for Education Statistics 40% of college students are taking remedial education. Texas colleges reported in-state high school graduates needed more, not less, remedial classes after high-stakes testing was introduced. Also the success of the schools is dependent on the performance of the students. The federal funds are given only to those schools that perform well, which adds an incredible amount of pressure on public schools to constantly evaluate their performance or fluctuate the bar that has to be passed. What this leads to is an increase in school dropouts. Harvard University found that students in the bottom 10% of achievement were 33% more likely to drop out of school in states with graduation test. The National Research Council found that low-performing high school students who are held back do less well academically, are much worse off socially, and are far likelier to drop out than equally weak students who are promoted. What is happening here is that students who are passing exit exams are going on to college but needing remedial courses, which defeats the purpose of them in the first place. What they are supposed to do is filter out students who know what is required to from those who don't but it still passes those who don't know because the states have the bar so lowered that the students don't learn anything and need remedial classes. All it's really doing is raising the dropout rates and hurting their education. Being pragmatic about this and getting rid of them would set a realistic bar for students to pass and not have as much pressure on them therefore having more students walking away with diplomas to help contribute and progress society.

Con 2: Do to Exit Exams, curriculum flexibility is limited. The state requires teachers to teach a curriculum that is related to the test. This leaves a very narrow opportunity to teach non-related test material. Because the test are so basic and are only multiple choice they don't make the students analyze situations, think critically nor do they make them conduct research which are important attributes, according to the National Research Council, that students need in college. Also Susan Brooks-Young reports that every teacher expresses frustration about no having time to allow students to explore and create their own meaning through project base learned activities. As a result the joy of learning and teaching has been significantly diminished what the exit exams are doing is getting rid of the most important skills that a student needs in college. They lower the bar so low that anyone, without the knowledge thy need, can be able to pass it. If we were to remove exit exams teachers can teach the skills that are required for college and help society progress.

I will now end Round 1 and pass it over to my opponent
Debate Round No. 1
ToastOfDestiny

Con

To accommodate this change in the structure of this debate, I ask that Pro not post an argument in the last round to keep both sides even. With that said, let this debate begin!

I negate; resolved: public high school students in the United States ought not be required to pass standardized exit exams to graduate.

I shall define standardized exit exams (SEEs) as the US Department of Education does, "an educational accountability technique employed to ascertain if progress and base standards are being met by school districts through the use of a high stakes test in compliance to federal standards." This definition should be preferred, as the US government is ultimately the entity that is acting.

My value will be progressive post-industrialism (P P-I) which is, as David Bell writes "the evolution of industrialist societies into more technologically advanced and culturally progressed civilizations dedicated to humanist principles of justice and human dignity". This is best achieved through the criterion accountability, because as Bell continues "it is only through accountable educational systems teaching the basic prerequisite subjects required to communicate such as language and math can we solve for violations of human worth and injustice worldwide."

By focusing society on the individual, diversity, and justice, P P-I creates strong and fair societies. Professor Gosta Esping-Andersen writes about P P-I societies. " The benefits of striving towards the post-industrial value system in quality of education is seen in everyday life in those nations that have achieved it. Quality of health care for the disabled, poor, and old is significantly higher. The base level of education, especially in language ensures a quality of communication that ensures we recognize each other as individuals working together as opposed to working against each other. Empirical studies in Norway and Denmark show the level of education directly effects the likelihood of individuals showing aggression towards other racial, ethnic, or socioeconomic subgroups because of a greater understanding of the interconnectivity of the world."

C1: Exit Exams Create A Progressive Post-Industrialist Society
The American economy is faltering on the global scale because of inadequacies in the educational system. The National Education Association writes,

"Domestic and international economies have shifted, and a new base of skills are required for the workforce. In the last 10 years over 3 million manufacturing jobs were lost while 15 million service sector jobs were created. These new jobs required basic math and English levels that were found to be lacking in many American high school graduates."

Society's switch from a manufacturing to service-based economy requires us to dramatically change our educational objectives. Manufacturing jobs only need a 6th grade English, and 4th grade math level. In contrast, the service sector requires laborers to have an 8th grade mastery in both. The current educational system simply cannot support the economy. The solution is quite simple, as Gosta Esping-Andersen elaborates.

"The standard of education in post-industrialist societies in Europe are what ensure their economic and social survival. The rigorous testing taken by those exiting the secondary education system ensure that the needed market skills are present within the student."

Exit exams ensure that students are adequately equipped for the workforce, and create stable economies. This is clearly seen in strong European nations with rigorous exams.

C2: Only high-stakes exams can achieve any form of accountability.
Barry and Finley (2009) write,
"Due to the lack of consequences related to low-stakes tests, student performance has been found to be lower in low-stakes testing than in high stakes conditions, which leads to poor instrument refinement decisions. The low motivation of low-stakes testing increases the amount of students using rapid guessing. Items that were known to be low difficulty appeared more difficult and discriminating, lowering the quality and validity of the tests overall."

Only when students apply themselves can we obtain an accurate measurement of their of their ability and ensure accountability. This has twofold impacts – first, students who graduate absolutely have the abilities they need. Second, teachers and administrators can utilize these data to improve the system.

As I have shown through my case, it is only by negating, through a high stakes testing methodology can we ever ensure social and economic stability which is the cornerstone of social progress and rights. Without exit exams we cannot reach the level of progress post-industrialist societies have reached in terms of competitiveness in the world market and in social cohesion by the valuing of human worth. These unique and powerful benefits provide a clear reason to vote for the negative.

Let's move to the Aff side.

Regarding the value debate, we need to prefer P P-I. We both value societal benefit, but the Neg gives a clear path towards social progress. The Aff doesn't give you a bright line to determine where progress has been achieved and where it hasn't.

Aff's criterion only weakly links to his value. His arguments for pragmatism actually fail, because in the end he is looking for a 'valued diploma'. On the Aff side, he has no way to achieve anything more than a subjective diploma. The Neg, on the other hand can clearly show what a diploma entails.

Furthermore, we can look to my definition and immediately see a reason to vote Neg. A SEE by definition meets the federal, not state standard. If we want to completely standardize an SEE, it needs to be on the national level. The Aff cannot bind the Neg to support only state level exams. The Neg determines Neg arguments, not the other way.

@ C1
The Negative value system immediately does away with many of these harms. If we implement a P P-I exam (more on that later), these harms actually go away! Remember the Esping-Andersen and Bell cards I presented earlier. A move to a P P-I society would actually reduce dropouts by placing more emphasis on individual students and schools and ensuring that they get the attention and help they need.

Furthermore, if we just promote students who shouldn't be promoted, we are only harming society. In my C1, I showed that the current lack of accountability and rubber-stamping of diplomas is leading to a backslide in the economy. These problems would only be exacerbated in an Aff world.

The problems, as Aff states, are because "states have the bar so [low]", which would immediately disappear in a P P-I society with a federal test.

@ C2
Exit exams reflect the curriculum, not the other way around. By putting SEEs into place, we ensure that teachers are actually teaching the curriculum. Second, all the problems Aff cites are with basic multiple choice tests. The thing with P P-I societies is that their views of education are starkly different from the current paradigm. They value individual opinion and free expression, and thus we have these wonderful examples of tests:

http://www.debate.org... (check the links in the 6th post)

Note how the tests are completely free response and allow students to use their own methods. Such examples of critical thinking free response tests raise the bar and encourage student achievement. Students get to construct their own strategies and thinking styles, which is just what the Brooks-Young cards says they need to do.

The problems that Aff brings up are problems with society today and low-level multiple-choice exams. The negative value structure of P P-I immediately takes out all of his harms and introduces unique benefits. P P-I societies value education and the individual, which is the cornerstone of social progress and the solution to today's problems.
Its-you-or-me

Pro

I would like to apologize to my opponent for upsetting the balance and agree not to post in the last round. Lets continue.

I will first rebut my opponents case and then move on to rebuild mine.
I will group my attacks on his value and criterion.
His Value of progressive post-industrialism or PPI as put is defined as "the evolution of industrialist societies into more technologically advanced and culturally progressed civilizations dedicated to humanist principles of justice and human dignity". What my opponent wants to achieve here basically is society progressing through technology and education which he is trying to achieve through accountability through educational systems. My opponent who wants students to take S.E.E. (standardize exit exams) thinks this will make society evolve and become more civilized but this is unpragmatic. If we were to look at my contentions we could see that S.E.E.'s don't actually help society progress at all because of how many kids are needing remedial classes as I stated in my CON 1. Also the schools are not being held accountable if we were to have S.E.E in place because as I stated in my case they have the ability to fluctuate the bar to there liking so that the test are extremely easy so that students can pass and the school gets rewarded for having high test scores but the students are the ones who get harmed.

CON 1: "The American economy is faltering on the global scale because of inadequacies in the educational system"
"Domestic and international economies have shifted, and a new base of skills are required for the workforce. In the last 10 years over 3 million manufacturing jobs were lost while 15 million service sector jobs were created. These new jobs required basic math and English levels that were found to be lacking in many American high school graduates."
As I stated in my case this is due to S.E.E. because they still pass people who don't know what the need to go on into the work force and be a productive member of society. So this evidence shows a direct cause of what S.E.E. do if we would to force them upon students. I don't see what European nations have to do with this topic this clearly states the United States.

Con 2:"Only high-stakes exams can achieve any form of accountability."
Apply my attack on his V and C to his Con 2

On to my case

V: As he said we both value societal benefit but only one of us is achieving it. He is not achieving a progress at all, he is in fact hindering it by making students take S.E.E. as I proved throughout my case. The Aff states that without E.E we could actually have productive members of society by teaching them a curriculum that is not limited and by making them analyze situations and think critically.

C: We can still achieve a valued diploma because if the person who is graduating actually has knowledge and going into society as a productive citizen then it is valued unlike one that is give after taking S.E.E.

Regarding the definition; all states have their own standardize exam so the def. meets state.
Con 1:S.E.E. harm them (CON 1 and 2) I don't understand how my opponent is getting rid of these harms.

Con 2: As I stated the teachers have to teach a curriculum that is related to the test therefore limiting them to what they can teach.
Thank you
Debate Round No. 2
ToastOfDestiny

Con

Let's start by clarifying my value structure. I value Progressive Post-Industrialism, which is a movement in society towards human rights and justice. As much as we would like to believe that the U.S. has reached this point in society, it is false. In my case, I show the myriad benefits of a P P-I society, none of which have been rebutted. Pro never says that P P-I is a bad thing, he just attacks the link to my case. Because it is easy to see that P P-I is fundamentally good, we must use it as the value in this round. Furthermore, Pro never gives a bright line, or even attempts to. I give a specific pathway to P P-I and societal progress.

Similarly, Pro ignores my link to the criterion of accountability. We are not using the United States' current weak multiple choice tests. Not only do these go against the values of a P P-I society, they are, as we both agree, ineffective. Instead, we are looking to the free response, high level tests that DO take place in P P-I societies.

It's not only through economic progress that we achieve P P-I. By mandating higher level SEEs, society is showing its commitment to education and that it values equality. Educated and empowered students go on to strengthen society economically and socially. Their increased skill in communication reduces violence and disputes. Better understanding of the world reduces negative stereotyping and racism. While such changes may seem cheesy and overly optimistic, much research has shown that P P-I societies experience this positive growth largely because of their strong educational system and accountability structures.

As you evaluate the attacks that Pro makes on my case, and the extensions he makes on his, there is one very important factor to keep in mind. All the problems that he keeps harping on are NOT with the SEEs that we should be putting in place. They are not problems with critical-thinking free-response tests that P P-I societies put it place. They are problems with today's multiple choice tests. The Neg completely does away with all these problems and harms with the proper tests.

Let's look at my Contention 1 now. Pro completely skips over my analysis and evidence which shows that the new economy requires students to have skills which schools fail to impart! The Hart card is from 2007, when less than 50% of schools had SEEs.

He continues to completely drop the Esping-Andersen card which states that P P-I societies in Europe have stronger economies BECAUSE of their rigorous, free response tests! This is a huge reason to vote Neg!

Pro's attacks on my C2 are also misplaced. The Barry and Finley card clearly states that high-stakes tests are more reliable than low stakes tests, nothing more, nothing less. This point is completely dropped. Furthermore, if we take a high-stakes system and further enhance it by making it free-response and high-level, we circumvent the problems that Aff provides.

Let's move on to the Aff side.

The value for this round is Progressive Post-Industrialism. Aff never states that it is bad, and never shows why societal progress should be preferred.

Because Aff never attacks the actual link I make between accountability and P P-I and instead strawmans my side, we need to prefer my criterion over his. Furthermore, he doesn't show exactly how the Aff reaches a valued diploma. How do I know when an Affirmative student has achieved competency? What means do we use? The Aff never provides the link or shows how this would be done. In fact, this goes the exact other way! I showed with the Hart card that the kind of system that exists on the Affirmative side leads only to failure.

The definition for this round is also the Neg's. Aff's definition doesn't specify that the exams are state-based. He doesn't source it either. Furthermore, the reason we need to prefer my definition which puts the power in the federal government's hands is that a national level test is what will lead to success. As such, I am not defending state-level tests.

The Affirmative C1 now completely falls. He doesn't attack my arguments at all. All Aff does is weakly restate his claims. He doesn't even extend his evidence! Remember that he's talking about multiple choice, low-level graduation exams that are being put into place across the U.S. I'm talking about free-response, critical thinking tests. His entire contention is attacking the wrong thing.

He fails to attack my arguments on his second contention too. Exit exams, particularly in P P-I societies that value education, are reflections of the curriculum, not the other way around. Exit exams test the curriculum to make sure it is being taught. All that will happen as a result of SEEs is stronger curriculum alignment and an empowered workforce.

Remember, these are the kinds of exams we're putting in to place:
English Paper I: http://www.examinations.ie...
English Paper II: http://www.examinations.ie...
Math Paper I: http://www.examinations.ie...
Math Paper II: http://www.examinations.ie...

There's no worry about teachers 'teaching' to such exams. First, they cover such broad subject area that teachers are just going to end up teaching the whole curriculum. Second, they test critical thinking and analysis that are vital in the job markets. These are the kind of tests that lead to successful economies.

Ultimately, this round should go Neg for two reasons. First, there are numerous benefits to P P-I societies. These include, "quality of health care for the disabled, poor and old...[reduced] aggression towards other racial, ethnic, or socioeconomic subgroups...[and] economic and social survival", as Gosta Esping-Andersen writes. The Neg is the only one who can achieve these benefits, because as Professor Esping-Andersen continues, it is "the standard of education in post-industrialist societies...[and] the rigorous testing taken by those exiting the secondary education system" which access these benefits. Second, Aff's entire case is a giant strawman [1]. He attacks a set of exams which I am not supporting.

With that, I'll give it back to Aff for his final speech.

[1]http://4.bp.blogspot.com...
Its-you-or-me

Pro

Its-you-or-me forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
ToastOfDestiny

Con

It seems my opponent has forfeited his final speech. Regardless, I will proceed with some crystallization.

In this round, we are valuing Progressive Post-Industrialism through Accountability. The debater who best achieves this has won. Remember that Progressive Post-Industrialism is "the evolution of industrialist societies into more technologically advanced and culturally progressed civilizations dedicated to humanist principles of justice and human dignity".

The Negative achieves this quite simply. The high level nature of exit exams ensure that a graduating population is fully educated and enlightened. We see this quite clearly in strong European nations with accountable systems. Apart from ensuring economic survival, an exit exam leads to numerous social benefits, including increased healthcare and decreased racism and discrimination.

My first contention clearly shows that the problems with todays schools are a result of rubber-stamping diplomas and low standards of accountability. People enter the workforce unable to function on the required level which undermines the economy and the individual, who cannot hold a steady job. The solution here is a high stakes, critical thinking exit exam. You can look the example of the Irish 10th grade test as the basic framework that the Negative upholds. It is only these high stakes tests that can achieve any form of accountability because students have no incentive to perform on low-stakes tests.

The problems on the affirmative case all quickly dissolve in a progressive post-industrial negative world. Higher value and standards in education ensures that students are ready for life. A focus on actual education prevents teaching to the test (which is more rightly 'teaching to the curriculum; exams reflect the curriculum, the skills students need to learn).

Finally, the affirmative case is all geared towards multiple choice exams. Never do I ever say that multiple choice exams are a proposition on the negative side. His entire case is a giant strawman (see: http://www.clker.com...) and he never once makes an attack that can be applied to my case.

Because I am the only one left in this round with any offense at all and achieve a stronger, more empowered society, I urge a Negative vote.
Its-you-or-me

Pro

Its-you-or-me forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
17 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by ToastOfDestiny 7 years ago
ToastOfDestiny
Aw shucks =/. You could've posted in the last round.
Posted by Its-you-or-me 7 years ago
Its-you-or-me
The reason I didn't post it because I was at tournament. Good half debate.
Posted by ToastOfDestiny 7 years ago
ToastOfDestiny
The strawman I identified was your attack against the United States' multiple choice exams when I'm not arguing for them.
Posted by ToastOfDestiny 7 years ago
ToastOfDestiny
A strawman argument is when somebody attacks an argument that has not been made:
http://www.nizkor.org...
http://en.wikipedia.org...
Posted by Its-you-or-me 7 years ago
Its-you-or-me
I gotta ask...what does "strawman" mean?
Posted by ToastOfDestiny 7 years ago
ToastOfDestiny
I had to be really succinct in what I was saying and abbreviate more than I would have liked because of the character limit.
Posted by Its-you-or-me 7 years ago
Its-you-or-me
My grammer still sucks.......more than 4 months away and my grammer still sucks. >=l
Posted by Its-you-or-me 7 years ago
Its-you-or-me
Well I'm sorry. I guess I got excited and just wanted to jump right in.
Posted by ToastOfDestiny 7 years ago
ToastOfDestiny
You don't have to post an argument this round.
Posted by alto2osu 7 years ago
alto2osu
It's up to you. But, I know I won't accept with an indefinite period of voting.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by Its-you-or-me 7 years ago
Its-you-or-me
ToastOfDestinyIts-you-or-meTied
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Vote Placed by StephenAlsop 7 years ago
StephenAlsop
ToastOfDestinyIts-you-or-meTied
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Vote Placed by ToastOfDestiny 7 years ago
ToastOfDestiny
ToastOfDestinyIts-you-or-meTied
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