The Instigator
ilovgoogle
Con (against)
Losing
28 Points
The Contender
RoyLatham
Pro (for)
Winning
33 Points

Resolved: Public high school students in the United States ought be required to pass standardize

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/4/2009 Category: Education
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 7,135 times Debate No: 9413
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (6)
Votes (10)

 

ilovgoogle

Con

Resolved: Public high school students in the United States ought be required to pass standardized exit exams to graduate.
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I will be taking CON in this debate and in doing so will let PRO go first.
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I reserve the right to clarify the topic should I deem it necessary.
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Good luck to who ever accepts this debate!
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My opponent may propose definitions.
RoyLatham

Pro

Definitions

"A standardized test is a test administered and scored in a consistent manner. The tests are designed in such a way that the questions, conditions for administering, scoring procedures, and interpretations are consistent and are administered and scored in a predetermined, standard manner." http://en.wikipedia.org...

A high school diploma is issued to mark meeting standards for graduation.

1. Purposes of a diploma

What is the purpose of a diploma? One purpose is to build the self-esteem of the person receiving it. That can be done by passing out diplomas to everyone who in some way participates in schooling, but that doesn't serve any valid public purpose. The valid public purpose is to certify a level of competence to prospective employers and to schools beyond high school having admission standards. However, colleges generally have admissions departments that can demand a variety of tests scores and evaluations to suit their particular purposes. I suppose that, for example, Harvard could manage to select applicants without the benefit of high school diploma standards, because they would invest the effort into evaluating SAT scores, teacher evaluations, recommendations, examples of the applicants work like essays, and so forth. That makes qualification for employment the most important use of a diploma.

2. Standardized tests certify level of accomplishment

A diploma should certify a certain minimum level of accomplishment. A graduate should have basic competence in reading and writing English and in performing basic math. Those basic skills can be well-established through standardized tests. Without standardized tests, an employer cannot know if the student was simply passed along using "social promotion" or whether the student actually learned the basics.

"Social promotion is the practice of passing students along from grade to grade with their peers even if the students have not satisfied academic requirements or met performance standards at key grades. It is called "social" promotion because it is often carried out in the perceived interest of a student's social and psychological well-being. Research suggests that promoting unprepared students does little to increase their achievement or life chances. ... It is difficult to measure how prevalent the practice of social promotion is; it isn't a practice school systems like to admit to using. Some indicators, however, are suggestive. According to the American Federation of Teachers (1997), a majority of teachers reported that they had promoted unprepared students in the past year." Education Week Research Center http://www.edweek.org...

Maybe social promotion helps students stay in school and maybe it doesn't. My point is that it adds substantial uncertainty to what a graduating student can be expected to know. Consequently, a standardized test is needed to verify the level of achievement.

I am not in favor of standardized tests being developed and administered by the U.S. Department of Education. That makes then too subject to political pressure. The standards for the tests should be provided by the states and the tests built, administered, and graded by an independent organization, much in the way that SAT and similar tests are performed. The level of achievement required for a diploma should, for example, be reading at the 10th grade level and arithmetic at the level of business math. By keeping the tests basic, students who do not do well under the pressure of test conditions can still pass. However, student who cannot muster basic skills under test conditions cannot be expected to call up those skills under job pressures as well, so they ought not receive diplomas.

The states currently work cooperatively to establish stands for textbooks, without federal government involvement. They should similarly cooperate in the development of the testing criteria for high school graduation.

3. Standardized tests establish school performance

A second reason for requiring standardized tests is to appraise school performance objectively. Without standardized measurement. Educators need to know which schools are producing able graduates and which are not. Standardized tests are the straightforward way of doing that. When evaluating a school as a whole, tests do not need to be extremely precise to be useful. Some students may do better than others in test situation, but the average scores will reflect the average performance.

Summary

"Employers today consider high school diplomas only as proof that 18-year-olds attended school, according to a study released February 9 by the American Diploma Project, a consortium of three education-reform groups. ... The project's two-year review of education in five states found that more than half of high school graduates need remedial classes in college, and most who attend college never obtain a four-year degree. Employers rated high school graduates as "fair" or "poor" on basic abilities." Education Reporter http://www.eagleforum.org...

The US has gotten into a status where a high school diploma does not guarantee a minimum level of competence. Employers need to know that a holder of a high school diploma has certain basic skills, and standardized tests can provide that confidence. Parents and educators also need to know the competence of their schools relative to other schools. Standardized tests accomplish that as well.

The resolution is affirmed.
Debate Round No. 1
ilovgoogle

Con

I thank my opponent or accepting what should be a passionate debate. I accept my opponents definition of a standardized test in the sense that, in theory, standardized tests try to achieve the guidelines presented in the definition. I reserve the right to challenge the definition in later rounds.

I will start by stating my contentions then refuting any brought up by my opponent.

What is the point of school? To learn the last time I checked! Learning is defined as: acquiring new knowledge, behaviors, skills, values, preferences or understanding, and may involve synthesizing different types of information. [1] Schools seek to achieve this through the classroom; however, possible. I believe standardized testing impedes on a schools ability to to just that: help students learn. If we look at state's education systems today we will see that almost every states already require standardized tests for high students graduate. In fact 2/3 of students our already required to take them to pass. [9] This is an effect of No Child Left Behind requiring them to receive certain funding. [8] Looking at these we can see many of the failures that standardized testing plagues our education system with.

[A] It's not fair to judge the ability of someone's entire academic career on whether or not they answer A, B, C or D on a test at one time. There is so much more to learning then that! What if you're a bad test taker? What if you got sick during the test? What if I have to go to the bathroom during the test? What if I'm just plain nervous? To know if you could pass or fail high school on the basis of 1 test it very intimidating to most students. To truly gauge a what a person has learned you must look at what they have achieved over the period of their academic career, not just 1 test.

[B] Standardized testing funnels money from other subjects. If we look to No Child Left behind as an example, we can see that since it's passage 22 percent of elementary school leaders surveyed reported a decline in their art and music instruction. [2] If I want to be a preform in the arts when I grow up I won't have the skills I need because it was cut from my school to increase math education. This is not to say math is not important, but standardized testing that requires it to pass high school puts an overemphasis on it at the cost of other subjects. "Arts and cultural industries generate $1 .2 billion in revenues, $413 million in wages, and 19,500 jobs, totaling 6% of all employment in the County" [4]

[C] High school exit exams have proven not to be any more beneficial then those not taking them in job readiness. Here are some highlights for a study done: "Young high school graduates who obtained their diplomas in exit exam states fared no better in the labor market than their peers who obtained their diplomas in other states. These findings held in states with minimum competency exit exams and in states with higher competency exit exams. They also held for students from different racial/ethnic backgrounds." [3] If exit exams have no bearing a a student ability to succeed in a job, then why are we wasting time and money on them?

[D] We are wasting time and money on exit exams. Not only our we wasting teaching time on taking a standardized test, but money as well. Consider the things that go preparing for a test and costs : Making the test (already costs thousands for many states), preparing for it (teachers must take time to be briefed on it, students also have to study (see point E for more info on that)), administering the test, (usually takes up to a day), grading it (think about having to grade MILLIONS OF TESTS, we do have electronic machines, but almost always someone has to go over it for mistakes. It also takes away time that could be used for teaching.))

[E] Teachers and students teach and study to the test. This creates a tunnel vision mentality where only the info that's going to be on the test is important. When you teach to the test you leave behind critical thinking skills. Just asking someone to answer A, B, C, or D does require one to look at a piece of information critically, instead their thinking only need graze the surface.

[F] There's a strong luck component. If I only have to answer A, B, C, or D and I fail by one question, but the guys next to me passes by one question because he "guessed right" is that really fair? How does that demonstrate learning? Why should even some of a high schoolers grades to tied to something with such a high luck component?

[G] If we wish to catch to other nations in the international ranking then we need to ditch standardized tests. Many other nations such as Ireland and Iceland do not use standardized testing as a means of grading students, instead electing to use performance based criteria to grade students. The ironic part of the whole situation is that they still score higher then us on international exams. Combine this with the fact we spend $9,666 a pupil [5] which is less then Ireland, Iceland, and New Zealand, but still got outperformed on international standardized test. [6]

[1] http://tinyurl.com...
[2] http://tinyurl.com...
[3] http://tinyurl.com...
[4] http://tinyurl.com...
[5] http://tinyurl.com...
[6] http://tinyurl.com...
[8] http://tinyurl.com...
[9] http://tinyurl.com...

Standardized testing does nothing but hinder learning. The resolution is negated.

1. Purposes of a diploma
I fail to see how this relates the resolution whatsoever.

2. Standardized tests certify level of accomplishment
A standardized test merely means you are accomplished in selecting A, B, C, or D as the answer. As you'll see in my contention [C] this idea is supported. If standardized tests verify accomplishment shouldn't we see a difference in job readiness?
"The standards for the tests should be provided by the states and the tests built, administered, and graded by an independent organization, much in the way that SAT and similar tests are performed."
If each state has a different test, is it really standardized?

"By keeping the tests basic, students who do not do well under the pressure of test conditions can still pass. However, student who cannot muster basic skills under test conditions cannot be expected to call up those skills under job pressures as well, so they ought not receive diplomas."
So by making an easy test everyone can pass it! Wait, doesn't that diminish the accomplishment of passing the test? This contention would seem to contradict your earlier statement: "The valid public purpose is to certify a level of competence to prospective employers and to schools beyond high school having admission standards."

3. Standardized tests establish school performance
Once again this school performance only assess what the test is administered on. State's tests are almost exclusivity focused on math, reading, and science. A school has a hard time offering other subjects is they receive funding solely based on the performance of these subjects.

"Employers today consider high school diplomas only as proof that 18-year-olds attended school, according to a study released February 9 by the American Diploma Project, a consortium of three education-reform groups. ... The project's two-year review of education in five states found that more than half of high school graduates need remedial classes in college, and most who attend college never obtain a four-year degree. Employers rated high school graduates as "fair" or "poor" on basic abilities."
Hmmm… considering that already ⅔ of students are required already to take standardized test, this would seem to prove that standardized tests are not working.

My space is limited so I had to cut my contentions and response short. More to come in round 2. I request that my opponent please number his contentions so save space when responding to them.

I look forward to the rest of this debate!
RoyLatham

Pro

[A] Physicians, airline pilots, and demolition experts have to take tests. So do drivers of cars and trucks, private pilots, building contractors, and hairdressers. Some of those applicants are just not good at taking tests. So is the fair solution to stop testing physicians, airline pilots, and the rest? No. That would result a much greater unfairness to the general public. People who have trouble taking tests have to study harder to make sure they know the material well enough to be able to perform under test conditions, and they need to practice taking tests. If the person is so emotionally unstable as to be unable to pull it together with any reasonable mount of preparation, then they are unqualified to receive the certificate. Knowledge that cannot be mustered under pressure is not going to be useful in ordinary situations of job stress. For most students, preparation for tests is a positive motivator to study and prepare.

All states requiring exit exams allow the test to be retaken at regular intervals. If the student can never pass the test, they are not qualified.

[B] The fee for the standardzed SAT test is $45. http://www.collegeboard.com... That's representative of what a standardized test costs. An exit exam from high school is required once in the 12 years of the student, so the average cost is $3.75 per student per year. Con's ref [5] says the average cost per pupil for K-12 education in the United States is about $9666. Therefore Con is arguing that the difference between $9666 and $9661.25 amounts to the funding for education in the arts. That is unsupported and unreasonable. If fact, if we allowed an average of each student taking the exit exam three times, an overestimate, it would be a trivial $11.25 per student per year.

[C] Con claims that exit exams have not had an effect, but he provides only a link to a vacuous home page, his ref [3], on something to do with testing in Minnesota that provides no evidence or conclusions. Con quotes a conclusion he obtained from somewhere that states that students "fared no better" without certificates. If so, that testifies to the inadequacy of the testing. Is it really plausible that people who pass reasonable tests on math and reading are not more qualified than those that fail? If it ever happens, we should need to find out what was wrong with the tests.

[D] Con restates that test costs, established in [B] as $3.75 per pupil per year, are devastating. Con claims that preparing for the tests detracts from other subjects. The tests proposed are on the basics of math, English, and science needed to achieve a minimum level of competence. So therefore Con is supposing that students who cannot read or perform basic math are better off studying something else. For most students that is not true. They need to know how to read as a priority above art or whatever. However, there is nothing that precludes a student from not learning how to read and instead pursuing some vocational training, if educators decide that is proper. Doing so means that the student will not get a certificate implying they know how to read and do basic math, which is perfectly fair. They might earn a certificate in a vocation.

[E] Repeats Con's arguments in [D]. Reading, basic math, and basic science are in fact more important than other things. So yes, schools should work to get students up to the level of basic competence in those subjects in preference to other subjects. For many students, basic competence will be achieved early and without much difficulty, so they can move on to other things.

[F] Con argues that there is strong luck component in passing exams. That is not true, if a student knows the material he will pass. If he doesn't know the material and must rely on guessing, only then is there a strong luck component, and the odds are so against the unprepared student he is very unlikely to pass. If a student was right on the borderline to the pass or fail, then the student should have prepared a little more so he would not have been on the borderline.

[G] Con offers no evidence that schools in the Ireland and Iceland are providing an effective education or that their students are well-qualified by international standards, yet he supposes that they should be used as a model for American education. Moreover, if they are good, then Con would have to show that not having exit exams is a significant factor in their success. He has given no evidence of either.

We know what school systems are at the top by international standards: Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and South Korea. India and China are well known for school systems that do well despite limited resources. Every one of these are testing fanatics. Japan even has a test for *entry* into high school!

Con offers no evidence that not-testing is the wave of the future. Quite the opposite is true:

"Educational testing is becoming a global concern; people around the world are seeking ways to ensure their children are proficient in a range of fields, as well as gain the skills and knowledge necessary for adulthood." Center for Research on Educational Testing http://www.cret.or.jp...

1. Con says he does not understand how having a diploma certify level of accomplishment relates to the debate. I cited a study that showed employers are not finding a high school diploma means anything beyond some school attendance. That means a standardized exit exam should be required so that diplomas mean something and can be used as a basis for judging employment skills. What part of the argument does Con not understand?

2. Con argues, "A standardized test merely means you are accomplished in selecting A, B, C, or D as the answer." Well, yes, and if you don't know the subject, you won't know which one to select, so you will fail.

"If standardized tests verify accomplishment shouldn't we see a difference in job readiness?" Absolutely, and if the tests do not establish job readiness, then clearly the tests are faulty. There is no difficulty in assessing basic competence through standardized tests.

Con asks, "So by making an easy test everyone can pass it! Wait, doesn't that diminish the accomplishment of passing the test? " No, meeting the requirement for basic competence will be easy for some students and difficult for others. I presented evidence that current high school diplomas do not guarantee even eighth grade reading levels. A diploma should guarantee a least a tenth grade reading level.

Tests like ACT and SAT measure to similar standards without being identical. Standard techniques allow normalization.

3. It is correct that standard tests only assess how well schools perform with respect to English, math, and science. Cake decorating and playing the clarinet are not measured. The reason is that some things are genuinely more important than others. Con claimed that schools would have a hard time getting funding for other things if they couldn't teach the basics. Yes, that is appropriate.

Con claims "Hmmm… considering that already ⅔ [?] of students are required already to take standardized test, this would seem to prove that standardized tests are not working." No, testing needs to be nearly universal and in place long enough for graduates to be a significant percentage of the labor force to make an impression.

==========

Con's references are generally boilerplate that does not support his case. They reference things like the cost of education. Con needs to point specifically what it is in each reference that he claims to support his case.

Con's basic case is that if tests are not absolutely perfect they ought not be used at all. That's a basic error.No measuring device i absolutely precise, but they ar nonetheless extremely useful. A high school diploma should mean that a student has basic competence.
Debate Round No. 2
ilovgoogle

Con

I will start by rebuffing my contentions then move to continue my rebuttal of my opponents.

[A] So because other people take tests that makes it right? What is right is not always popular and what is popular is not always right. We are talking about children here not adults. Is it really fair to put so much aexitity on them at such a young age? I'm not arguing for having NO test whatsoever; just not 1 high stake test that could change the entire outcome of someone's life. "A 2006 U.S. Department of Education-funded study conducted by the Institute of HeartMath and Claremont Graduate University with 980 10th-grade students found that 61% of all students reported being affected by test anxiety. Also, 26% experienced high levels of test anxiety often or most of the time. The study used a quasi-experimental, longitudinal field design, involving pre- and post-intervention panels of measurement within a multimethods framework. The study found a strong negative relationship between test anxiety and test performance: Students with high levels of test anxiety scored, on average, 15 points lower on standardized tests in both mathematics and English-language arts than students with low test anxiety." High stakes testing increases high stress anxiety.

"If the student can never pass the test, they are not qualified."
Simply not true. How does my opponent respond to the fact that there have been MANY successful people that have dropped out of high school and went on to succeed in life? Andrew Jackson, considered to be one of greatest presidents dropped out of high school. J.R Simplot is a self-made agriculture billionaire and dropped out as well. Carl Linder? Marcus Loew? All dropouts that couldn't "handle" tests.

[B] I was arguing that is funnels money from other subjects. What isn't tested doesn't exist. Pro need to reread my contention.
[C] The data is here. http://findarticles.com...

"We use data from the 1980 through 2000 U.S. Censuses and from the 1984 through 2002 Current Population Surveys to evaluate the labor market returns to exit exams (Warren, Grodsky, and Lee 2008). Both data sources include large, nationally representative samples of American young people. We limited our focus to 20- to 23-year-olds with no college education (and along the way we found that exit exams have no bearing on 20- to 23-year-olds' chances of having attended college).Young high school graduates who obtained their diplomas in exit exam states fared no better in the labor market than their peers who obtained their diplomas in other states. These findings held in states with minimum competency exit exams and in states with higher competency exit exams. They also held for students from different racial/ethnic backgrounds."

"If it really plausible that people who pass reasonable tests on math and reading are not more qualified than those that fail? If it ever happens, we should need to find out what was wrong with the tests."
The test themselves are the wrong part.

[D] Pro argues that students need to be able to read. I agree. And they do. My point is that there is a over emphases on math, reading and science. In high school people need to start exploring their passions, so they'll be ready for those employers you keep mentioning. (What is not tested does not count, and 85 percent of teachers believe that their school gives less attention to subjects that are not on the state test. One teacher had this to say about how the timing of state tests drives teaching: "At our school, third- and fourth-grade teachers are told not to teach social studies and science until March." As "real learning" takes a backseat to "test learning,") [2] Once again I'm not arguing against Math, Reading, and Science, but far too often it's as though other subjects don't exist and considering 6% of our employment comes from the arts it's far too important to ignore.

[E] Teaching to the test is test is not repeating my point [D] which talking about the cost of testing. This point goes dropped my Pro.

[F] "That is not true, if a student knows the material he will pass. If he doesn't know the material and must rely on guessing, only then is there a strong luck component, and the odds are so against the unprepared student he is very unlikely to pass. If a student was right on the borderline to the pass or fail, then the student should have prepared a little more so he would not have been on the borderline."
When questions are poorly written kids have to guess. In fact one girl from Minnesota failed by 1 question. After reviewing the test (after a lawsuit) they found mistakes in 6 of the questions. There was no right answer on some of them and she was forced to guess. Luck.

[G] Yes, as a matter of fact I have provided evidence that those countries outperform US students. If you had looked at my source you would see that during the PISA international exam they scored higher then the U.S. These school systems did not have standardized tests and yet still managed to score higher. If we look to the why, we can see that these systems allowed to have more freedom in the way they taught and made sure students knew info. You continue to show that asian countries preform us. On standardized tests... How does my opponent think that MORE standardized test will improve that system? Those methods been tried and have failed. We need to look to more innovative ways to teach children. Standardized testing is not the way.

I will now move onto my rebuttal of my opponents points.

1. As I've said before 2/3 of students are already taking exit exams, and seeing as you said employers do not think diplomas mean anything, that would seem to support the fact that standardized testing does not mean anything.
Simply put:
Employers do not think diplomas mean anything.
2/3 of Students with diplomas have had to of passed a exit exam.
Therefore employers do not think passing an exit exam means anything.

2. See my point [C].
"No, meeting the requirement for basic competence will be easy for some students and difficult for others."

3. I'll repeat my point [D] seeing as it applies here. "Pro argues that students need to be able to read. I agree. And they do. My point is that there is a over emphases on math, reading and science. In high school people need to start exploring their passions, so they'll be ready for those employers you keep mentioning. (What is not tested does not count, and 85 percent of teachers believe that their school gives less attention to subjects that are not on the state test. One teacher had this to say about how the timing of state tests drives teaching: "At our school, third- and fourth-grade teachers are told not to teach social studies and science until March." As "real learning" takes a backseat to "test learning,")[2] Once again I'm not arguing against Math, Reading, and science, but far too often it's as though other subjects don't exist and considering 6% of our employment comes from the arts it's far too important to ignore."

We need to start learning again!
Sources in comments!!
Sources
http://www.education-reform.net...
http://www.education.com...
RoyLatham

Pro

A] I pointed out that physicians, airline pilots, and others are required to pass standardized tests in order to ensure a minimum standard of competence, and that they are required to so despite all the hazards of text anxiety, potential unfairness if the person s right on the borderline of failing, and the dangers of teaching to the test. Con argued that doing so doesn't make it right. Rote denial doesn't overcome the logic behind the testing. The good of establishing a minimum standard of competence outweighs the relatively small imperfections inherent in testing. In the case of exit testing from high school, the good done is certifying the student has achieved a minimum standard of competence suitable for various types of employment, admission to a community college, or other pursuits.

Con argues that the stress is too great for young people to fairly handle. Stress is required to motivate most people to do their best. I worry more about the people who have no test anxiety, because that is likely to mean that they don't care about the outcome than that they are supremely confident. Con is implicitly postulating that a person who is well-qualified to read at a 12th grade level will be so stressed out as to fail a tenth grade level test. If that ever happens, then they ought to take more practice exams and then retake the exit exam.

Con repeats that it is one exam that determines the rest of the student's life. That's simply not so, the test can be repeated many times if necessary. Note that relatively few people pass the bar exams the first time, and yet we have not suffered a lawyer shortage as a consequence.

Note that young people have to cope with stress from many sources. They prepare for athletic competitions, debate tournaments, and other such competitive events. They pursue the opposite sex, for most a more stressful activity than studying. If the objective were mainly to lower stress, all of those other stressful activities could be curtailed in favor of studying. I don't think that's a good idea. There is stress, but coping is worthwhile.

Pro points out that many successful people dropped out of high school. That's true, but not because they were unable to pass an exit exam. For top performers, the reason was usually boredom, and while I'm sympathetic to that problem, that's a different debate. There are also economic reasons, particularly in times past, and mental disabilities, like Churchill's bouts with depression. Con gives no examples of standardized tests being an insurmountable obstacle.

[B] Con argues that "What isn't tested doesn't exist." That contention is unsupported. Subjects other than language, mathematics, and science exist in every country that has adopted standardized exit exams. What changes under testing is that students who have not achieved basic competence in the core curriculum will be encouraged, or required, to learn how to meet those shortcomings in preference to other subjects. That is appropriate for advanced societies.

If an educator is so foolish as to remove other subjects entirely, that's a fault in the curriculum that ought to be corrected, it's not inherent in testing core competence. It's easy to think of examples related to any test where the educator did a poor job. That's an argument against poor educators, not an argument for eliminating tests.

Con dropped his contention that exit testing is expensive. It worked out to less than $12/year per student.

[C] Con's article reveals the flaw in current testing, confirming my supposition. The authors say, "Exit exams are just challenging enough to reduce the graduation rate but not challenging enough to have measurable consequences for how much students learn or for how prepared they are for life after high school. Political pragmatism rather than academic benchmarks have led states to implement fundamentally flawed exit exam policies. Policy makers should either revamp exit exams to be sufficiently challenging to make a real difference for how much students learn or abandon them altogether." Graduation rates are only reduced by one or two percent. I agree that it is pointless to have a high school exit exam that is certifying eighth-grade level competence, which has been the product of social advancement policies.

I previously offered evidence that the high school degree is viewed as meaningless by employers, and it remains meaningless if exit exams do not do their job. the only obstacle to making them meaningful is errant political thinking, which is what the article says. That should be remedied according to the resolution as I have proposed.

[D] Con argues, "there is a over emphases on math, reading and science." Society can change what constitutes basic competence for a high school degree. However, that does not argue against the importance of having an exam to certify competence. Suppose society decides that computer skills are now so fundamental to living that every student ought to have a level of competence in that area. Then that ought to be added to the exit exam.

[E] My rebuttal to the argument that exams encourage teaching to the test is similar to previous arguments. It's not the fault of testing core competence if educators do not properly shape the curriculum for those who have achieved core competence, and if the wrong subjects are on the test, then the test ought to be changed to reflect the consensus on what is important.

[F] I agree that there are sometimes poor test questions having ambiguous answers. The girl in Minnesota who failed by one question and then sued would have otherwise been forced to retake the test. (She faces a larger obstacle in having lawyers as parents.) I don't think that result is so heart rending as to invalidate testing. If 1% of the questions are faulty, then the student ought to study hard enough to pass by more than 1%. That's reasonable. That speedometers have errors does not argue that we should abolish speed limits. The errors are small enough to accept as a part of the way the world works in practice.

Con offered no evidence that the luck component is "strong." It's somewhere below the 1% level, affecting only the few students on the borderline.

[G] Con's ref [6], which he claims supports his contention that Iceland et al have good schools without exit exams, in fact links to an unrelated article about school spending in the U.S. It's not my job to sort through Con's references or find them on the net to build his case. Anyway, I found the PISA site on the net. PISA assesses only science, not math or language competency. They say, "Analysis gives the most comprehensive international picture of science learning today, exploring not only how well students perform, but also their interests in science and their awareness of the opportunities that scientific competencies bring as well as the environment that schools offer for science learning." As Con promised, it doesn't just measure what students know, the way objective tests do. It includes, "interests" and "awareness of opportunities." In other words, baloney as a substitute for learning.

So has that put Iceland et al in the forefront of the modern era? Not exactly, the countries that have standardized tests are also in the forefront of economic advancement these days, the Asian countries cited. We do not need more cheerleaders as PISA contends.

I will agree that standardized testing is not the most important element of education. The most important element is parental involvement. However, the reason for testing is to provide a certificate of competence as a requirement for other things. That is worthwhile in it's own right. It also provides a worthwhile measure of the success of schools.

Con decided to argue [1], [2], and [3] as part of [A-G]. I have responded accordingly.

Con's objections are trivial. The resolution is affirmed.
Debate Round No. 3
ilovgoogle

Con

Throughout my opponent arguments he has shown a number of contradictions which I wish to expose during this round.
On one hand my opponent has constantly referred to exit exams just certifying "basic competence" and allowing people who fail it to have it "retaken at regular intervals". On the other hand in his response to my contention [C] he argues for raising the standard on exit exams. Throughout his arguments he keeps advocating to make tests harder while at the same time making them easier. As I've proven even raising the standards have no effect. The problem is the test themselves. "Young high school graduates who obtained their diplomas in exit exam states fared no better in the labor market than their peers who obtained their diplomas in other states. These findings held in states with minimum competency exit exams AND in states with higher competency exit exams."

[A] He goes on to claim that stress helps students. I strongly dispute this claim as it has been proven that learning under stressful conditional conditions impairs just that, learning. [1, Figure 2]

Pro goes onto to continue to say that the test can "be repeated many times". But if a student continues to repeat a test with the sole purpose of passing are they really learning? It becomes this rhythmic process where students just try to learn the answer; A, B, C, or D rather then learn the information.

Pro attempts to refute the fact that the exam does not have a significant factor on a students life. Then I ask you about the girl from Minnesota who would've lost an entire year of her life having to repeat a grade she didn't need to because someone messed up grading a test.

[B] The statement "What isn't tested doesn't exist." is actually quote from my article http://www.education.com... from the previous round, written and sourced by TEACHERS. As I've mentioned throughout my arguments there is reduced funding and time spent on other subjects when there is standardized testing. (Round 1) For the third time I'll repeat that 6% of our employment comes from the arts; it's far to important to ignore. Let me leave you with another quote from that article: "At our school, third- and fourth-grade teachers are told not to teach social studies and science until March." Sounds to me like it doesn't exist.

[C] "I previously offered evidence that the high school degree is viewed as meaningless by employers, and it remains meaningless if exit exams do not do their job."
True, but you also ignored my point I put out last round which I'll repeat for you.
"As I've said before 2/3 of students are already taking exit exams, and seeing as you said employers do not think diplomas mean anything, that would seem to support the fact that standardized testing does not mean anything.
Simply put:
Employers do not think diplomas mean anything.
2/3 of Students with diplomas have had to of passed a exit exam.
Therefore employers do not think passing an exit exam means anything."

[D] The problem with tests is that you can't always test what it important. What is important varies from person to person. If I want to become a graphic designer then that is what is important to me. Standardized tests are this "one size fits all." mentality that doesn't work in today's schools or economy. Teachers should be free to pass someone if they adequately show they have excel in what's important to them and have shown they have learned. That's the point of school after all isn't it? There are a multitude of ways to do this such as student projects, portfolios, essays, and class discussions.

[E] Responded to in point [D].

[F] Take note my opponent has admitted has admitted tests have "poor test questions having ambiguous answers". She had the knowledge, but the test was a poor way to assess it. As I've stated before why should we risk are children's education when there are so many better ways to teach and assess knowledge! The luck component was strong because for a multitude of reasons as I've stated throughout the debate. For example : "On the SAT, for example, the test-makers admit that two students' scores must differ by at least 144 points (out of 1600) before they are willing to say the students' measured abilities really differ."

[G] Pro it's not my job to sort through your contentions or find them on the net to build your case. If you read the entire article you know what I took out of the article and referenced.
"Despite this spending, the United States
ranked fifteenth among the thirty-one countries
that participated in the OECD's 2000 Program
for International Student Assessment (PISA)
reading exam. Ireland, Iceland, and New Zealand
were among those that outperformed us while
spending far less per pupil. "
This also refutes the point that they do not test language.
Pro claims that we should follow Asian countries,but that is not far of a comparison rather then comparing us to Europe. Not only do they privatize schools , but it's ingrained in their culture that they are hard workers. [3]

"I will agree that standardized testing is not the most important element of education."
That's the problem thought. When you have standardized test it becomes the most important element of education. We need to let teachers do what they were hired for. Teacher. And we need to let students do what they should. Learn. Standardized testing impedes on this. I think voters should also note all of my 7 contentions stand while my opponent has infused his 3 contention in rebuttals.

Sources
[1]http://www.sciencedirect.com...
[2]http://www.fairtest.org...
[3]http://74.125.47.132/search?q=cache:6B6W8fx02QEJ:www.iiisci.org/journal/CV%24/sci/pdfs/ZZ531YV.pdf+asian+work+ethic+study&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us
RoyLatham

Pro

Is social advancement, lack of objective standards, and avoiding stress on students really best for students or the country? Is core competence in some subjects more important than competence in other subjects? Should employers expect a high school diploma to mean something? Those are the questions considered in this debate. I claim that exit testing from high school, done to non-trivial standards, is a basic step in restoring meaningful education.

Con's arguments against the imperfections of testing apply to all tests by anyone on any subject for any purpose. All tests induce anxiety in the test taker, have imperfect questions, and can be made too simple to guarantee anything. Con's reference said that insofar as exit exams have been implemented, they are all too easy to guarantee competence. The overall failure rate is only 1%-2%, including the states with more difficult tests. Employers agree the the tests certify nothing. In this debate, I have consistently advocated raising the test standard from eighth grade competence to at least tenth grade competence. If anything, it ought to be higher than that.

I raised the point that everyone from airline pilots to hairdressers must pass standardized tests, despite all the real-world limitations of testing. Con never suggested that such testing ought to abandoned, and his only counter was that high school students were too young to be stressed. Stress in part of life, and a very necessary part of learning. That applies not only to math and science, but to sports, games, debate tournaments, and even dating. No one, not even Con, suggests it is important to reduce stress in those other areas.

Con argues that test anxiety is detrimental to learning. Anyone who says that they will study just as hard if there is no test as they do if there is a stiff test is a born storyteller. It is not remotely credible.

Con erroneously claimed that testing costs a lot. He abandoned the point after it was shown to be less than $12 per year.

Con claimed that it was unfair to a person's whole future depend on one test, but it is universally allowed to let failing students retake the test many times.

Con claimed that subjects not tested are ignored, and provided some evidence that teachers ignore them. I argued that if teachers are foolishly spending time teaching eighth grade subjects to a student who is already competent at that level, then the problem lies with the teaching, not the testing. The remedy is better curriculum guidance. Beyond that, states are left to determine what subjects are tested in the exit exam and which are not. If there is too much language, math, and science and not enough of something else, educators can change the balance. Con did not respond to either argument.

The organization that Con cited for international rankings, PISA, says on their web site that they only test science and that they include measures of enthusiasm for the subject, not just what students know. No matter what they test, , the European systems Con believes we should emulate are mediocre. He says we ought not use the best school systems, the ones in Asia, for comparison because "it's ingrained in their culture that they are hard workers." I think that means that we need to ingrain hard work into American schools, not that we ought to strive for mediocrity. We are competing in world markets, so we need to bring our standards up to that level. Even if we somehow convince ourselves that mediocrity is good enough, it should be an honest mediocrity measured by objective testing, not by awarding fraudulent diplomas. Meaningful testing would raise standards and reward those who do work hard with meaningful diplomas.

The benefits of exit exams are to provide employers and others with an objective certification of competence. Con's objections are largely trivial; the best school systems rely on standardized testing and get the best results as a consequence. Objective standardized tests also indicate how well schools are doing their jobs, and we need to know that to know which need improvement.

The resolution is affirmed.
Debate Round No. 4
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by ilovgoogle 4 years ago
ilovgoogle
Haha, sounds good to me.
Posted by RoyLatham 4 years ago
RoyLatham
ilo, A study shows that 61% of all debaters suffer from debate anxiety. You are one of them. Does it therefore follow that there should be no time limits and no scoring?
Posted by ilovgoogle 4 years ago
ilovgoogle
Posted with 3 seconds left.... Had to cut A LOT short. Grrrr..
Posted by RoyLatham 4 years ago
RoyLatham
ok
Posted by ilovgoogle 4 years ago
ilovgoogle
⅔ = 2/3

I write my debates up and Pages (application), so there's a auto fraction recognition too; that contacts it's size. Apparently it doesn't play well with debate.org so just know that's the intended number.
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