The Instigator
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The Contender
Con (against)
1 Points

Resolved: On balance, standardized testing is beneficial to k-12 education in the U.S

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/15/2016 Category: Education
Updated: 9 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 458 times Debate No: 85042
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
Votes (1)




1. Not All Students The Same

Badertscher, Eric, and Heather Newton. "Counterpoint: National Education Standards Overlook Individuals And Local Communities." Points Of View: Standardized Testing (2015): 3. Points of View Reference Center. Web. 20 Nov. 2015.
Standardized testing presents numerous problems in American education. First, it fails to take into account that not all children learn in same way. This is especially true in the primary grades, when children are still new to school in general. Even children with high intelligence may find themselves placed in remedial courses if they do not perform well on standardized tests.
State and federal educational bureaucracies tend to use standardized testing as a way to increase their own control over the educational process. By establishing state or national standards, they reduce the role of the free market. Even private schools, for example, which accept school vouchers and are often developed by parents unhappy with local public school systems, find themselves subject to increased governmental oversight through forced conformity with federal standardized testingrequirements. Even state officials have discouraged home schooling on the grounds that this method doesn't provide sufficient standardized testing opportunities.

In the bigger picture, the public needs to recognize that bureaucracies (whether local, state, or federal) cannot solve all educational problems. Parents must recognize that children are at school for only part of the day; learning, however, can take place all day long. Thus, parents can look for ways to teach children important concepts after school and during the summer when they are not at school. Parents can also encourage local school boards to use other forms of testingto gain a better assessment of each student's academic progress.

Standardized tests have also been linked to an overemphasis on vocational education. For example, students learn business math, but are not taught the larger concepts of critical thinking in mathematics. Likewise, some English classes focus on business writing, rather than teaching students to write essays that develop analytical skills. Education should focus as much on pure intellectual growth and being a good citizen, as on earning a living and passing a test


== Clarification ==

The resolution states, "On balance, standardized testing is beneficial to K-12 education in the United States."

Let me clarify each of the terms. "On balance" means taking everything into consideration. In such a debate, all harms and benefits are weighed against each other to decide who wins. "Standardized testing" is a form of testing implemented at K-12 education in the United States, where the tests at the K-12 level are the same for all public schools. "Beneficial" means posing a net benefit.

The burdens are shared. There's no burden of proof in this debate, only a burden of persuasion, due to the usage of "on balance" and "beneficial," both of which make it a debate of opinions rather than a fact-claim.

== Rebuttal ==

Pro's case is contradictory. The position of Pro is intended to argue for the resolution. Instead, Pro argues that standardized testing is bad. He's arguing from the wrong side. Pro is arguing that different students require different forms of education, and standardized testing actually fails in doing that. Pro's own source notes that standardized testing is ineffective in doing so. Vote Con right there. Pro's argument is contradictory to itself, and fails to affirm the resolution.

Regardless, I'll presume I'm taking the position of Pro and address my opponent's harms:

Pro's first harm is that children learn in different ways. But Pro's source, and argument, only address primary school children, which is irrelevant to the resolution. The resolution specifically regards K-12 education, and primary grade students don't link to the resolution. Furthermore, I agree that primary school children learn in different ways - but by K-12, they've all learned and prepared for this. The same set of educational portion would exist anyway, regardless of whether standardized testing exists. As such, the first harm doesn't apply.

Pro says standardized testing has been linked to an "overemphasis" on vocational education. I have two responses: (1) overemphasis is subjective, and there's no objective reason to believe "critical thinking in mathematics" is more important than vocational education, and so forth and (2) I don't need to defend the status quo; as long as I can show some form of standardized testing is or would pose a net benefit, I affirm (therefore, you vote Con). This argument is also a bare assertion due to lack of sources.

C1) Benefits to students

Pro concedes that testing -- in some form -- is beneficial. Testing allows parents and students to assess themselves. Such an assessment results in increase in total education for the student, and allows parents to stress on further improvement. Herbert J. Walberg (2011) says, “Students benefit directly when they take tests that offer information on how well they have mastered the material intended for learning. School reading and mathematics skills, for example, can be precisely specified, and as students learn the skills, they benefit from ongoing information tailored to their specific, individual progress. Computers streamline this process by providing immediate feedback about correct and incorrect responses far more quickly and with much greater patience than teachers and tutors can provide.” [1]

On balance, standardized testing is a helpful form of testing to the student. John Bishop of Cornell University found that standardized testing poses huge educational value to the student. He found that countries requiring students to take nationally standardized tests showed higher test scores on international tests than those who took school-based tests. In another study, he found that US students who anticipated having to pass a standardized test learned more science and math, and were more likely to complete homework and talk with their parents about school work. [2, 3]

C2) Teachers see benefit in standardized tests

It's largely agreed that standardized testing benefits teachers as well. According to Laura S. Hamilton and Brian Stecher, “[S]tandardized tests can do many things: tell policymakers and families how well students are doing overall; play a role in state and district accountability systems; contribute to teacher evaluations; and inform decision-making about student course placement. Some tests are used in other ways that include teachers adapting day-to-day instruction to meet individual student needs based on each student's test results.” [4] Teachers generally see standardized tests and associated accountability systems as beneficial. Teachers, therefore, do understand and perceive benefits.

For all the above reasons, vote Con.

Debate Round No. 1


Douglas1234 forfeited this round.


I'm fairly disappointed that my opponent forfeited, and hope they turn up for the next round. I'll pass this round for fairness, but if Pro forfeits the next, I'll crystallize my points.
Debate Round No. 2


Douglas1234 forfeited this round.


That's disappointing. When I accepted this, I thought I'd get a good debate on a topic with equal ground that I don't know anything about. I researched and did gain some information, and I was going to tell the judges to ignore the Con/Pro confusion if my opponent continued their argument. When I accepted, I didn't intend things like a "noob snipe," because I didn't realize my opponent was new to the site. Anyhow, here's why you should vote Con:

(1) Pro confuses the sides in arguing for a resolution. Pro argues *against* the resolution, which means every single argument of Pro's is turned against them. The turn means you vote Pro down since Pro doesn't fulfill their share of the burden.

(2) Pro doesn't prove any of their points -- the "overemphasis on vocational education" point was a bare assertion and was insufficiently explained, in that there's no reason to think that's a net harm; Pro's source for their first contention and argument only concern primary school children, which is irrelevant to K-12 education. I've constructed a case with clear reasons to vote Con, even presuming I'm taking the "for" position. First, standardized testing has clear benefit to students, since it makes it more likely for them to show interest in studies, to complete their homework, and to interact with parents about school work, and the feedback given as a result is much more effective than personal feedback. Second, there's benefit to teachers, since it reduces their workload, benefit them via accountability systems, contribute to teacher evaluations, and tell teachers how to deal with different students in different ways (which also link turns my opponent's first contention).

Therefore, vote Con.
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by whiteflame 9 months ago
>Reported vote: thett3// Mod action: Removed<

7 point to Con. Reasons for voting decision: forfeit

[*Reason for removal*] While this was a full forfeit debate, the opening round contained a substantial argument from Pro. The voter needs to do more to explain why he's giving S&G, arguments, and sources to Con than cite the forfeits.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Balacafa 9 months ago
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Total points awarded:01 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeiture.