The Instigator
Con (against)
0 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
7 Points

Public HighSchool Students of the U.S. ought not be required to take a standardized exit exam to g

Do you like this debate?NoYes+1
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/18/2009 Category: Education
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,588 times Debate No: 9729
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (26)
Votes (1)




This arguement is in the form of LD format please if you don't know the format here's the format Aff, Cross-X, Neg, Cross-X, AFF rebuttal, NEG rebutal, then Aff rebuttal.

Negative: High School Exit Exams

In this round I negate the resolution: Public high school of the United States should be required to take the High School Exit Exams.

Definitions: United States – A democracy in which 50 states are entitled the right of a public education.
Public High School – An area of which students to learn in grades 9-12 grades to be prepared for this exam.
Utilitarianism - the ethical doctrine that virtue is based on utility, and that conduct should be directed toward promoting the greatest happiness of the greatest number of persons.

My value for this round is: utilitarianism. Utilitarianism is the greatest good for the greatest amount of people. This goes with the test because the greatest amounts of people pass the exam.

My criterion for this round is: the test itself. The test itself passes 9 out of 10 people per year and increasing.

Contention A: Scores. The scores are very important in this argument because these scores are essential evidence.

Sub point I: The Scores are 9 out of 10 passing rate and the other 10 percent passes either in 12th grade or as an adult. These scores make this test seem having a greatest good for the greatest amount of people. These scores make sense that every race black, white, Hispanic, or Mexican are smart enough for these states so far to have a 90% passing rate.
Contention B: Passing scores. The greatest good for the greatest amount of people states that if the person who has the most bias should have that vote. Basically if the person with the most passing scores should have it. So my idea is that with utilitarianism if there are passing scores and a bunch of people passing the greatest good to the greatest amount of people should be the people who pass and take the test.

For these reasons I stand firm of the negative and state again my value is utilitarianism and my criterion is the test. I'm now open for cross-examinatation and points of clarification. Thank you.


Note: I've removed my citations as I've been burned by noobs stealing cases and forfeiting all rounds. If my opponent steps up, I'm more than happy to post them in the comments.

Definitions. Though we could discount them entirely as he is the neg, he doesn't give meaningful definitions anyway. I will define "standardized exit exam":

Any state-wide assessment that must be passed prior to receiving one's public high school diploma.

V: Justice. Justice (defined by Aristotle as giving each citizen his/her due) as related to education requires equality of distribution, as every citizen is due a culturally mandated education in order to succeed within society, otherwise the concept of a meritocracy is fundamentally compromised.

C: A legitimate system of education. In order to have a meaningful debate on education reform, we cannot neglect the system that the test is directly linked to. The affirmative contends that exit exams fail to provide a legitimate system of education: one that provides each citizen with his/her due education.

My sole contention is that exit exams not only test a biased system, but reify its flaws, which invalidates the test.

A. US school systems are socio-economically stratified by resources, materials, & personnel.

It is widely acknowledged in countless educational studies over the years that the education system in the United States, like all other human institutions, is rife with disparities. Unfortunately, as it is in most cases, the poor bear the brunt of the burden, receiving less qualified educational instructors and less overall resources than districts with more available funds. This inequality oftentimes manifests itself in the form of standardized exam results, as detailed by ----:

"The detrimental effects of the new policy were harder on girls…than on boys. Girls experienced a 19-percentage point drop in graduation rates after the Californian High School Exit Exam… was implemented, while the graduation rate for boys with similar academic profiles decreased by 12 percentage points over the same period. Likewise, graduation rates among…black, Hispanic, and Asian-American students declined by 15 to 19 percentage points following the enactment of the exit exam policy. The comparable graduation-rate drop for white students in the same achievement quartile was 1 percentage point." (--)

Since a standardized test assesses one's competency within a set of standards, if all of those standards are disparately taught, the test cannot be valid.

B. Results of this invalid exam withhold diplomas unjustly, and even prevent student mastery and success. Exams, in their inability to solve for inequalities in education, simply entrench already disadvantaged students further by labeling them falsely as failures. The psychological effect of being branded a failure is described as ---- continues:

"Even though students have plenty of opportunities to retake the exam—and most do—poor, inner-city students who just missed the passing cutoff in 10th grade are...less likely to graduate on time than demographically similar students who just barely passed, even though both groups scored at roughly the same levels on the 10th grade exam. Failing or passing the tests seems to have no statistically significant effect, though, on the probability of graduation for wealthier, suburban students." (--)

The stigma of failure, even though that failure is one of the institution and not the student, is enough to significantly reduce the chances of a poorer student graduating. Students who are mistreated by the system, and who do not graduate as a result, are much less likely to succeed, and will even become a social liability. ----- explains:

"High school is where economically disadvantaged young people...make it or break it educationally...High school is also where educational reformers' efforts to improve how much students learn face the acid test. If students do not finish high school with their cohort, they are likely to be marginalized from the mainstream and to become a social liability." (--)
A quick neg review:


1) Utilitarianism isn't an actual value.
2) Utilitarianism is nothing more than the ends justifying the means; it's tyranny of the majority. Justice outweighs as it achieves good for *all* students, not just a majority.
3) His criterion isn't a criterion, and he assumes that the test has benefits, which is what we are debating.
4) If I can prove that the test doesn't achieve justice at this point, I defeat his criterion anyway.

1) Cross-apply the entire Aff case. Neg is actively marginalizing an entire segment of US citizens, which is patently unjust. Since not only 90% of the population is due a legitimate, equal education, you can vote Aff on that alone.
2) Neg has no warrant for his only offensive argument. In fact, 1/2 the states show 70-80% passing. (website in comments)
Debate Round No. 1


Cross examination and points of clarification:

How does Justice relate to the resolution?

Are you aware a legitimate system of education can't work without this Exit Exam?
How is this exam biased?

How is this test a burden?

How is this test unjust?

Is money important in this exam?

Remember answer this by LD rules!


At least I understand at this point (sans any detailed notes in the instigator's post) how this needs to go down. I do not need any CX time, so does my opponent want me to take a knee in the next RD, or what? I figure that since I posted case in RD 1, we can just continue after I answer these questions.

Also, I'm not sure what he means by "answer this 'by LD rules.'" Clearly, I know the format, so I'm just gonna answer the questions...

How does Justice relate to the resolution?

A: Justice relates to the resolution, as I clearly stated in my affirmative case, because the US is very clear about the distribution of education. Since the US is a meritocracy (our entire economy is based on this principle, and so many of our social ideals flow through the concept), each citizen must have equal access to the skills and content that states have set down as "education." Hence, each person is due this education by the state. We are attempting to achieve this due, which is just. By achieving this due, we have access to the meritocracy, societal welfare, and all sorts of other good things for citizens that are only accessible through justice. In summation: justice is giving each citizen his or her due. Education is a clear due in the US, as is supported by our goals, ideals, and social/economic structure. Hence, exit exams should help achieve this due. If they don't, and I prove it, I win.

Are you aware a legitimate system of education can't work without this Exit Exam?

A: I am not aware of this. My entire case negates this. In fact, I specifically claim that, since a legitimate system requires equal distribution, exit exams cannot achieve equal distribution because they reify the already biased system that I warrant throughout my case. Exit exams do test a set of standards, but since those standards are not equally taught to all populations of students, the exit exam tests knowledge that large amounts of students never have access to, and then label them as failures for it. Exit exams deny these students what they are due by the state, hence denying them justice.

How is this exam biased?

A: I never state that the exam is biased. I state that the system the exam is based on is biased. Since the exam is inextricably tied to the system, one cannot legitimately separate the two; the test evaluates knowledge gained within the system. If the system fails, the test automatically fails.

How is this test a burden?

A: I never said that the test is a "burden," per se. You could interpret it as a burden, however, in that it tests knowledge that not all students are given access to. I still wouldn't choose to use the word "burden."

How is this test unjust?

A: Though I have already explained this, the test is unjust because the system is unjust. Again, the two are not mutually exclusive. If students are not being taught the standards that the test is based on equally, then the test becomes invalid because it asks students to meet a benchmark that the education system failed to actually instruct them on.

Is money important in this exam?

A: If the exam had a snowball's chance in hell of testing students properly, then I would say that long-term benefits would outweigh short-term cost hikes of implementation. To be fair, the $160M it would take per state to institute exit exams across the board is a pittance compared to, say, the US defense budget. However, there is no need for money to play any part in this round, because my case states that exit exams cannot succeed in the system of education used in the US today. Not only that, but since we are not debating policy, money is really not an issue in this round. We'll assume fiat power on the neg. I never mention money in my case for that very reason.
Debate Round No. 2


First, I am going to state my Opponents flaws then defend my case.

V: Justice. Justice is not a sufficient value because the purpose of the exit exam is to get ready for life and be prepared to go into the workforce. With his value of Justice he agrees with my Value of Ultalitarinism. Why? He state the good things for the citizens. The good things for the citizens is for them to be prepared to enter the workforce and ready for life.

C: He states that a legitimate system of education " requires equal distribution." I, as well as the other people that stand by me, say that a legitimate system of education can't work with out something that measures how well one is doing. This is the purpose of this exit exam. So if my opponent can't triumph is value and his value criterion over mine, I win.

C1:He states that "receiving less qualified educational instructors and less overall resources than districts with more available funds." That is the point of the exit exam to get them prepared for the workforce and ready for life. The funds of this test don't matter because for our students to be prepared for the workforce the sacrifices equal more job opportunities and we have a bunch of smart people running this country as well as the world.

C2:He states in Contention B that "simply entrenching already disadvantaged students further by labeling them falsely as failures." With this exit exam we can help them by pointing out there weak points. The poorer people have an advantage of this test because this test opens the door to a brighter future for the test taker, the family, and benefits those around him/her.

My case:I will now defend my case.

V: My value is ultalitarinism. Which indicates the greatest good for the greatest amount of people. Those people are the test takers. If there is a superior of people passing this test then ultalitarinism is a better value over Justice. Tyranny is banned by the " NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND" Act of 2001. If I am not mistaking this test enforces this act.

C: The criterion of the test is a sufficient value criterion because through Ultalitarinism the test enforces the greatest good for the greatest amount of people.

Since he didn't state anything on my Contentions 1-3, Silence is Conence, I win that argument. Vote Neg and my value will be achieved.


I thank my opponent for his speedy response. I'll use his order, but I'll clean it up a bit.

Value Debate
1) Justice and utilitarianism are clearly not synonymous. One does not protect every citizen, and one does.
2) The purpose of an education in the US, I agree, is to provide every citizen with access to the US meritocracy (essentially to economic and social prosperity, or happiness). Note that my opponent, as proved by his value, cannot provide access to this meritocracy using the principles of utilitarianism.

Criterion Debate
1) Just saying it doesn't make it so. The negative has yet to explain how exit exams are actually achieving equal distribution, thereby legitimizing education. Intentions and outcomes are not the same.

Case: First of all, I didn't have two contentions. I very clearly only had one, with two subpoints.

Sub A: I believe that my opponent misunderstood this subpoint entirely. Sub A sets up the disparities in the system of education that actually cause exit exams to fail miserably.

1) Consistent funding to school districts is a *critical* issue in this debate (not funds "of this test"...?). If a school district is chronically underfunded or without qualified teaching staff, the students in that district will not have access to the materials or skilled professional assistance needed to master said content and skills. At that point, exit exams are worthless because they test some students on knowledge that they never had a chance to receive, and on skills that they never had a chance to master. According to my opponent's standards, this is an acceptable loss, because he only cares about the majority. That is patently unjust (and unconstitutional).
2) No warrants that confirm that the exit exam's intentions match its actual outcomes in US education.
3) No warrants that confirm that exit exams give us any sort of access to the job market or to academic achievement.

Sub B: My opponent is claiming that the exit exam will actually serve to point out "poorer people's" weak points, and that exams give them an open door to "a brighter future."

1) No warrants to back up his claim that exit exams open up a door to this brighter future he speaks of.
2) In fact, you can essentially extend both cards under this subpoint. The first states that failing an exit exam illegitimately damages one's chances of graduating if one already belongs to an underserved sector of the population (which is what my entire case is about). The second card then reinforces the first, and states that those same students will become marginalized, which further distances them from gaining social and economic prosperity.
3) Extend the impacts of the entire subpoint, as well. Specifically, the final impact is the hardest blow to my opponent's standards. If he is attempting to achieve utilitarianism (which is unjust, as I've explained previously), my last card clearly states that underserved, marginalized non-graduates will become a social liability, which will hurt the entire society, not just the non-graduate.
Neg Case:

Value Debate
1) Extend everything I've said about utilitarianism being entirely unjust. I have not a clue as to what banishment of tyranny my opponent is referring to with regards to NCLB, but if we are using that piece of legislation as the pinnacle of educational justice, you can affirm right now. NCLB is a heinous attempt at promoting the standards movement in schools, and its biproducts have been entrenched discrimination and standards tampering.
2) Justice is still clearly outweighing in this round. My opponent states "If there is a superior of people passing this test then ultalitarinism [sic] is a better value over Justice." Lest we wish to throw away the concept of equal rights in the US, you should affirm.

Criterion Debate
Extend both attacks I made against my opponent's criterion in RD 1, as he has failed to address them entirely. Allow me to remind voters:
1) "His criterion isn't a criterion, and he assumes that the test has benefits, which is what we are debating." This is abusive.
2) "If I can prove that the test doesn't achieve justice at this point, I defeat his criterion anyway." Which I did.


In RD 1, I did a concise review of the negative case. I labeled it "a quick neg review." Guess he missed it. Please extend these attacks, as they go unanswered in RD 3.

1) "Cross-apply the entire Aff case. Neg is actively marginalizing an entire segment of US citizens, which is patently unjust. Since not only 90% of the population is due a legitimate, equal education, you can vote Aff on that alone."
2) "Neg has no warrant for his only offensive argument. In fact, 1/2 the states show 70-80% passing."

As this sentence represents my last 177 characters, I cannot expand upon my attacks, but I do believe I have sufficiently proven my point.
Debate Round No. 3


I would like to thank my opponent for accepting this challenge.ters I'm only I would like to remind my opponent and voters that I'm only trying to become a better debater. SO thank you!
V:My value achieves more then his can achieve because my case is backed up by "The No Child Left Behind" Act of 2001. My value achieves more then his value of justice because my value uses the democracy of the United States to make ultalitarianism work as a value. His value achieves equality, which as you know is impossible because we all learn differently, comprehend differently, and therefore use the test and value of the test differently. If his value of Justice can beat my value of ultalitarianism, which is the greatest good for the greatest amount of people. So I want to remind the voters that no one is equal.

VC: His argument towards my value criterion of the test, well you can't achieve ultalitarianism without the test, which my contention C states that so far 90% of teens pass the exam.

I'm sorry for mistaking his subpoints for contentions.

Sub A:
Point 1) Funding of this test uses the money that in which goes to the students as of the constitution " 75% of taxpayers money goes toward schools." It is not unconstitutional

Point 2) My opponent says that these exit exams don't warrant the outcomes in education. Well it does match the standards of the state and of the nation.

Point 3) My opponent says that the exit exam doesn't give us any preparation for the workforce. So he's saying the test is a waste of time and we should get rid of it. I disagree because if no one is prepared for life and the workforce we have a bunch of simpletons in office and if this test is enforced it's not bad because the kids have to only know the bare minimum of 8th grade math and 10th grade English, which is the bare minimum and can be more difficult.

Sub B:Well 1 I didn't say that it points out only the "poor peoples'" weaknesses I said everyone's weaknesses. So if he can find anything that states this test doesn't I win the argument.

Point 1) The brighter world is a better workforce.

Point 2) In this point he states that kids will be derived of progressing societal welfare and economical progression. If he can't give the evidence I win this argument because this test only progresses those important social prospects.

Point 3) Well the test is suppose to prevent that from happening because of the private scores and teachers help.

My case:

His attack on my value is that of bias and discrimination, which as you all know it is graded by a machine. I win that argument alone.

The equal rights of the United States state that everyone is enabled the right of a public school education, which is the reason this test is taken.

My criterion is a criterion because this test is part of my value.

His only attack is about the scores which is true of the 90% passing.

My defense of C1 and C2 is still silence is consent.

Vote Neg in this argument.


I will use my opponent's structure from RD 4:
Aff Case:

Value Debate

1. I'm not achieving equality. I'm achieving equal access to educational standards. The two are not the same.
2. Utilitarianism is unjust and discriminatory. My opponent has yet to address this. Extend it.
3. Extend my previous comments about NCLB and how much it fails as a legislative measure, especially if my opponent is linking NCLB with the discriminatory practice of utilitarianism.

Criterion Debate
1. Extend all previous responses on the criterion debate. Space compels me not to repeat them a third time, but they go unaddressed, which means that my opponent has no criterion.

Contention 1, Sub A

Point 1 (I believe he is referring to my numbered responses in RD 3)
-The unconstitutionality comes from denying large amounts of students equal access to education, as is proved in my entire case.
-The funding of the test is not at issue. It never has been. The funding of individual districts in order to provide equal access to materials and quality staffing is. Extend my analysis on this point.

Point 2
-Clarification: I stated that my opponent has no warrants to back up his claim that the intentions of exit exams match their actual outcomes. We can create something with the best intentions in mind, but its application could still lead to utter failure (as is the case with exit exams).
-Of course exit exams match state standards (national standards don't exist as education is a state's right). That doesn't prove that the exit exam ensures equal access to education, though, as those state standards are currently not being taught equally. Hence, underserved students can't pass the exit exam due to systemic discrimination. Cross-apply those impacts I noted from RD 3.

Point 3
-I never stated that exit exams don't prepare students for the workforce. Our evaluation of them can't even make it that far because of unequal access to education. What I stated was that my opponent didn't provide a warrant to prove that exit exams did all the good things that he said they did. One can't just assert something like that without a warrant.

Contention 1, Sub B

Tagline Response: At the point where I prove that exit exams are invalid due to inherent, systemic flaws, the "weaknesses" my opponent refers to cannot be trusted, anyway.

Point 1
-This brighter world/better workforce is inaccessible by my opponent; I've warranted this claim multiple times.

Point 2
-The warrant for non-graduates being individually unsuccessful as well as a social liability is, in fact, directly in my case. Look to my second and third cards. Evidence provided.

Point 3
-Private scores & "teachers help" do not solve the impacts that I extend in RD 3. This is also another unwarranted assertion with no clear link to my response.
Neg Case

Value Debate
-Exit exam grading policy has absolutely nothing to do with anything I've argued in this debate. The system is biased (the distribution of education itself), which is why the test fails. Again, I never claim that exit exams themselves are biased in form or in grading.

Blip on Equal Rights (between value debate and criterion debate)
-My opponent has yet to link the exit exam to equal access to education in any way, warrant or not. I have.

Criterion Debate
-Extend the arguments made in the initial rounds. It is abusive to use exit exams as a criterion.

Neg Contentions:

One more time, I'll ask that you extend my responses to my opponent's case, which have been posted since RD 1. Silence only has the potential to be consent if one is actually silent.

1) "Cross-apply the entire Aff case. Neg is actively marginalizing an entire segment of US citizens, which is patently unjust. Since not only 90% of the population is due a legitimate, equal education, you can vote Aff on that alone."- This is entirely dropped, which takes out his entire case.

2) "Neg has no warrant for his only offensive argument. In fact, 1/2 the states show 70-80% passing."- My opponent states that his 90% passing stat is true, but never says anything about the source that I provide in RD 1. Hence, you will prefer my stat. However, the first, dropped argument is your reason to vote Aff.

I will only provide voting issues, and no new arguments, in my last round. I encourage my opponent to do the same.
Debate Round No. 4


I will do what my opponent asks and wish to say good job and good luck in the voting rounds.

Voting issues: Voters I would like to provide some issues. Well 1 I have none. and 2 I would like to say to all the voters that if you choose me thank you and if you choose him I can't say anything about it to change your decision. Thank you all for your time, especially my opponent and thank you to the comment board. If you want to vote either of us, go ahead we both are worthy of any input that you have on this argument. If anyone would like to send me tips on an argument that could've gone better send me a messenge.


I thank my opponent for the debate. I remember what it was like, diving into debate, and sink or swim is never a fun time. :)

I hope that the case and rebuttals I have provided are helpful to his future endeavors.

My voting issues:

OV: I'll just go ahead and put this on case, since comments aren't working so hot. I'm a girl. :)

1. The negative never actually refuted any of the argumentation that I placed on his case, which is a lot of conceded arguments. Basically, at the point where he agrees with all of these arguments, the negative has no offense available from the NC. If he has no case left, he has nothing to uphold his standards (which started out as flawed in the first place), my opponent's advocacy is taken out of the voting equation.

2. Standards debate: I'm clearly winning this debate at the end of RD 5. My opponent's standards are not only ethically questionable (as utilitarianism actively seeks to rob minority populations of their rights and his criterion is abusive) but have little to no link. I, on the other hand, provide a value and criterion that serve as a clear standard in the round, and am able to access more good than my opponent.

Thanks for reading!
Debate Round No. 5
26 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by alto2osu 7 years ago
Nails: I might be up for debating compulsory immunization, but not in the nearest future :) I'm getting behind on some grad courses, etc. I'll definitely shoot you a message or something though if I can.

As for the system, I use that specifically b/c if my opponent has half a brain then they can argue alternatives (all 24 exit exam states offer like perf. assessment alternatives to the general student population). There are some other responses to biased test that are even better, but it's 12:30A my time and I just got back from a weekend-long debate tourney with my kids :)
Posted by Metz 7 years ago
If anyone wants to debate LD, either this topic or Nov/Dec just shoot me a challenge. Any Side.
Posted by Nails 7 years ago
Also, Alto, would you be up to debating me in the near future on the Nov/Dec topic? I don't care which side.
Posted by Nails 7 years ago
Nothing CON said ever came remotely close to making sense to me. Good job to Alto2osu, you got my vote. I don't think you even have to tie the problem to the system if you don't want to. There's plenty of evidence out there that specifically links the bias to the test.
I think it's the 2nd one down. You cited some of this in your case I think. It addresses bias specific to the test, so you don't have to advocate ditching the entire system. No both now, though, either way. This resolution is about done.
Posted by alto2osu 7 years ago
Str85150: I AM A GIRL. :|
Posted by pcmbrown 7 years ago
"silence is consent." hahahahhahahahaha
Posted by Str8t5150 7 years ago
Thank you Pro: Good luck.

Posted by studentathletechristian8 7 years ago
I've always known you were a female...
It says on the profile!!!!
Some noobs just don't have common sense about the site.
Posted by untitled_entity 7 years ago
...because they're noobs, Alto. :)
Posted by alto2osu 7 years ago
Why the hell does every noob on this website assume I'm a guy?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Nails 7 years ago
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