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Resolved on balance

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/8/2016 Category: Education
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 778 times Debate No: 84733
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (5)
Votes (2)




Resolved: on balance, standardized testing is beneficial to k-12 education in the United States.


I accept. I expect that I am allowed to present definitions because of the absence of an outline to the argument. The BoP is on con.

[1]Beneficial: receiving or entitling one to receive advantage, use, or benefit
[2]Balance: a state of equilibrium or equipoise
[3]Standardized tests: any form of test that requires all test takers to answer the same questions, or a selection of questions from common bank of questions, in the same way, and that is scored in a "standard" or consistent manner, which makes it possible to compare the relative performance of individual students or groups of students.

Contention 1: Testing is provably beneficial to all students.
Contention 2: Standardized tests are normal tests.
Contention 3: Tests help teachers recognize where students need help with learning.

C1: A test is a a procedure intended to establish the quality, performance, or reliability of something[4]. By taking a test, a student is able to see how well they know a subject. These tests can help the student assess what they need to study. This is beneficial to the student in the case where they may not know what all they do not understand, which is where a standardized test can help them.

C2: A standardized test is not just the tests that you take once a year that are sent in to assess your overall knowledge, they are also, by definition, the tests you take ever so often in all of your classes. A standardized test is just a fancy way of describing a test that everyone in a class takes, whether it be 'multiple choice' or 'true or false'.

C3: By taking a test, not only does the student help themselves find out what they need to learn and study, it also allows the teacher to be aware of what their students are learning, and what they are having a hard time with. Whether the teacher decides to help out individuals or their class as a whole, this can be equally efficient in addressing these types of issues.

Conclusion: I have upheld my value of the beneficialness of standardized tests, that standardized testing is beneficial to k-12 education in the United States, and I urge the affirmation of the resolution.

Debate Round No. 1


I'm glad you've excepted my argument you seem like a worthy opponent. I will present some evidence in favor of my topic

Why Publishing a Teacher"s Standardized Test Results Is a Very Bad Idea

Using student standardized test scores to evaluate teachers, a trend gaining steam in a growing number of states in recent years as a result of the federal "Race to the Top" program, isn"t about improving education. It is, and always has been, about ranking, sorting, and shaming schools and educators. But, just as controversial testing regimens don"t accurately capture student learning or progress in the classroom, standardized, homogenized teacher evaluations don"t capture what teachers do for students. Teaching and learning is hardly a beauty pageant. Educators and kids are more than a set of scores.
Still, Americans like information for its own sake; we like to create and consume lists and databases, analyses and reviews, to stare at numbers before we make decisions even if, like Yelp reviews, they"re as predictive as tea leaves.
Though a Virginia parent sued for teacher evaluation and observations to be made available to the public, educators who have been in the classroom know that the information published is little more reliable than that (where, if you look me up, you"ll discover that I was simultaneously "the best," "the worst," "real cool," and "hype," as both compliment and insult). How does publishing a teacher"s standardized test results support students and teachers? How does it turn into anything more than an adult-world re-creation of class rank, where we are shamed into competing against each other instead of working together to actually improve? How does it do more for parents than chatting in the parking lot or posting on Facebook groups would do?
Evaluations based on testing don"t show the hours we teachers spend researching, planning, and reflecting on lessons that will never be listed on an evaluation form. The standardized tests on which our evaluations are based often don"t even align with the curricula we teach. And, instead of being an authentic element of ongoing professional growth and development, classroom observations have become just one more task for overburdened administrators to complete: even the best-intentioned principals often can"t find the time in their days to get into our classrooms to experience the interactions taking place among our students.
When I taught a reading program for 9th graders while still at Kensington CAPA High School in Philadelphia, my students began the year with an average reading level equivalent to a mid-term fourth grader. We created a safe space for learning, and worked hard, together; after a semester, most of my students improved by at least one grade level on reading assessments. The students felt pride in and ownership of their growth; my principal brought guests in to observe the great work that was going on in the program. But on state-mandated standardized tests, my students still scored "below basic" because even the two or three years of progress they made in one year meant that they were still reading at levels below what was expected of rising 10th graders. They were labeled failing; as their teacher, I was a failure, too. The tests could not show what was taking place in our classroom.
The woman dubbed "the worst teacher in New York" taught in just such a classroom, and the truth about her teaching couldn"t have been further from the picture the "rankings" (and then the press) painted of her. The tests and the evaluations that are based on them are unable to accurately portray what happens in classes and schools where students are mobile, speaking different languages, coming and leaving at different times during the school year, where students are already performing far above or below grade level, or where poverty is a factor in students" readiness for school and the resources available in schools themselves.
Just as all children are more than the sum of their test scores, so are their teachers. If you want to understand what"s going on in your child"s classroom,there are countless ways for parents and families to learn more and become more engaged in their childrens" education. If we work together " if you don"t listen to advocates who want the public to view teachers as the enemy in the battle to educate children "sharing notes and communicating about your child (and about the work he or she is doing in my class ), we can help your child succeed in my class and outside it. You"ll learn far more about me and about your child in my class from talking to me than looking up some unreliable, meaningless standardized test score online.
My colleagues and I actually crave feedback and opportunities to grow; we want professional observation and evaluation to be more in depth, intensive and useful. Our unions are leading the charge on this front, researching, developing training and models of effective teacher evaluation. We are constantly seeking better methods of helping our students. There are effective ways to engage with peers and principals to delve deeply into goals and practices in the classroom, and when we invest our time and resources into these best practices, teachers and students benefit.
But we must resist the urge to artificially simplify those necessarily complex and time consuming evaluations just to feed the data monster with statistics and test scores. Information is important, but context is everything " which is something we"d love to teach your kids, too, if we could only find some time in between test prep sessions.


First and foremost, thank you for your input on the resolution, however I am more impressed at your copy-pasting skills rather than your evidence.

I recognize the evidence for your argument, but giving sources does not validate blatant plagiarism.[1]

Plagiarism is a form of concession.

I see no need to present further arguments as you have forfeited.

Debate Round No. 2


I apologized for not making my style of debating clear from the beginning. I first present evidence to support the agrument I'm making, then I later make analytical arguments at the end. I see how this may have been confusing. BUT this doesn't mean my argument is false, that would be a "fallacy fallacy" ( And saying you don't need to present any further arguments just shows how week your argument is the first place.

Now my plan for Round three is to present two pieces of evidence (I only put in the parts I thought nessary in order to save time reading) and then move on to analytical arguments to directly address your arguments.

Argument 1.
Why we don"t need standardized testing

There are two main arguments against using standardized tests to guarantee that students reach at least a basic level of academic competency. The first is radical: These tests are not necessary. The second"less radical and more familiar"is that, even if standardized testing were an efficient benchmark of basic skills, the costs associated with it are too high.
Standardized tests are unnecessary because they rarely show what we don't already know. Ask any teacher and they can tell you which students can read and write. That telling usually comes in the form of letter grades or evaluations that break down progress on skills. So trust the teacher. Publish grade distributions. Locally publish a compilation of evaluation reports. Release a state or national report reviewed and verified by expert evaluators with legislative oversight.
People will say: "That's crazy! Schools will fudge results. Grade data means nothing because teachers apply different standards with different values. Let's give them all one reliable test. And won't this proposal create a whole new bureaucracy?"
All true (except for the one test being reliable). Given high stakes and the accompanying pressure, people will game a system. And it is all too true that grades vary widely because of four factors: a teacher's conception of achievement, a teacher's sense of equity and rigor, a teacher's ability, and the composition of students.
But people are already gaming standardized testing, sometimes criminally. And, at a basic level of competency, a grade or an evaluative report would give us as much information as we now get from standardized tests.
We have the grade problem at my high school. In the same course or department, a B in one classroom might be an A, or even a C, in another. It's a problem for us, and, likely, a problem in most schools.
"To sum up, we don"t learn much from standardized accountability, and we have lost a great deal by giving it so much prominence."

Arguement 2.
Standardized Testing Undermines Teaching

No Child Left Behind has turned into a timetable for the destruction of American public education," she tellsFresh Air's Terry Gross. "I had never imagined that the test would someday be turned into a blunt instrument to close schools " or to say whether teachers are good teachers or not " because I always knew children's test scores are far more complicated than the way they're being received today."
No Child Left Behind required schools to administer yearly state standardized tests. Student progress on those tests was measured to see if the schools met their Adequate Yearly Progress goals. or AYP. Schools missing those goals for several years in a row could be restructured, replaced or shut down.
"The whole purpose of federal law and state law should be to help schools improve, not to come in and close them down and say, 'We're going to start with a clean slate,' because there's no guarantee that the clean slate's going to be better than the old slate," says Ravitch. "Most of the schools that will be closed are in poor or minority communities where large numbers of children are very poor and large numbers of children don't speak English. Schools undercut the opportunities for public schools, making public school students feel like "second-class citizens.It's simply a way of avoiding the public responsibility to provide good education."

Analytical arguments:
1. C1. by taking tests the students don't see how much they know just how much they can memorize right before taking a test; the information doesn't stick they can cram information the night before and then forget it all in a week. The purpose of education is to learn information and then use it later in the world and tests undermine that.
-also standardized test don't tell the student anything they don't already know. Most students are already well aware if whether they know something or not; even if they didn't they have grades which provide more information than any test as it consists of more studies.

2. C2. we can make the term standardized tests broad enough so it covers all forms of tests. But most of the issues lie in the tests which do occur once a year as they hold the biggest impact on the students future.

3. C3. Just because a student does well on a test doesn't mean he or she know the information. Most student's don't consistently study, rather they cram all the information the night before, students who do study are much more likely to experience a block than students who cram info. (
-also there are, as we know today, three types of learners, tactile, audio and visual. and test only favor visual.

Conclusion: Due to the lack of the pros arguments I uphold my belief to that standardized testing is NOT beneficial to k-12 education in the United States, and I urge the affirmation of the resolution.


I accept your apology, however you must recognize that organization is key in such debates. I also would like to point out that there is no style of debate that promotes plagiarism, or the absence of effort put forth in research and constructive arguments. It would have been better if you had explained this debate through and through in the first round rather than just state the resolution. Finally, I explained that there was no need for me to present any more arguments because all three of my contentions still stood, as you made no effort to refute any of them; you forfeited the round, it was not my uncertainty of arguments, it was the fact that it was unnecessary to present any more. I will still refute your contentions however.

R1: Not all students cram for tests. In fact, studies show that cramming is less effective than taking a test based on knowledge you already have obtained and learned, so taking a test after cramming does not reflect the knowledge you crammed, but more of what you remember learning[1]. Tests do not undermine the point of learning, as they are only instruments of measuring understanding and performance of a topic. This does not undermine a student's knowledge. Secondly, any form of standardized test can show a student that they need to work on a certain part of study, which they may have misunderstood previously. It is unfair to only look at a small group of students and how they think; however, it is fair to consider all students as a whole.

R2: The term "standardized tests" already covers all kinds of tests - from college entrance tests, to an algebra test - and does not need to be adjusted. The achievement tests that most middle and high schools take across America do not impact a student's life or their future, they are only an assessment to measure how students across the Nation are learning.

R3: Again, cramming information the night before a test has proven to be inefficient and unnecessary, as most students only remember the information that they have previously learned[1]. Those students who consistently study will most likely produce the best results on their tests rather than those who try and cram all information just before a test. The way that a student learns a subject is not tested therefore their learning style is irrelevant to a test. The test only tries to assess the student's knowledge of the subject rather than how they learn it. The way that a student learns is completely irrelevant to their ability to test, as these are two different things. Tests do not favor visual learners, they do not favor anyone, because they are not meant for learning, but for assessment.

Conclusion: Con failed to refute my arguments in the second round, and did not counter my second contention in any way. The lack of arguments that my opponent speaks of is incorrect, as I have presented arguments that he just ignored and failed to contend. I stand by the point that my arguments are still standing, and urge the negation of the resolution.
Debate Round No. 3
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by whiteflame 2 years ago
>Reported vote: Rooster-Mond// Mod action: NOT Removed<

6 point to Pro (Conduct, Arguments, Sources). Reasons for voting decision: Copy-pasting an entire article is plagiarism and doesn't present a valid argument

[*Reason for non-removal*] When it comes to issues of plagiarism, unless the claims are clearly unwarranted, votes that utilize it as the reasoning are not moderated.
Posted by Reeseroni 2 years ago
I forgot to post this source in my final argument

Posted by Reeseroni 2 years ago
By the way is first round acceptance only, or can pro present definitions and opening arguments.
Posted by Reeseroni 2 years ago
@Briannj17 The resolution is clearly stated. Failure to refute would result in concession.
Posted by Briannj17 2 years ago
Change your title. Otherwise you'll find random people want to debate the title.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Hayd 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:01 
Reasons for voting decision: Con plagarized all his arguments, thus conduct to Pro.
Vote Placed by Rooster-Mond 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: Copy-pasting an entire article is plagiarism and doesn't present a valid argument