The Instigator
sara_ann_dee
Pro (for)
Tied
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The Contender
mentalist
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Standardized testing is a good thing

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/14/2015 Category: Education
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,123 times Debate No: 77677
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
Votes (0)

 

sara_ann_dee

Pro

Hello - and thank for for joining my debate. I will be arguing in support of standardized testing.

This is the layout of the debate:

1st round: acceptance // opening statement // opening argument
2nd round: counterarguments
3rd round: conclusions // final counterarguments

I am looking forward to a pleasent discussion.

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1ST ROUND - OPENING ARGUMENT:

I will now procede to list reasons why standardized testing is a good - benefitial way of testing:

1. Jobs: Even if banned from school systems - to work for certain job forces you need to pass a standardized test to be hired. These include jobs such as: physicians, lawyers, real-estate brokers, and pilots. It would be benifitial in this way to keep standardied testing in our school systems because it will help prepare the youth ahead of time for this test which they might need to take in the future.

2. Academic Standards: Standardized tests are also used to see where a student is at academically. The tests help to see if each student meets the common core standards to pass the grade - and understand the cirriculum which they need to know for the future. This is the only way to find out if the youth is truly learning the tools they need to succeed or not.

3. Reliability: You might say that people can individually grade the tests what students take and see where they are at there - theit teacher for example. But teachers will sometimes be bias with their grading if they like or do not like a kid. So the only fair way would be for someone to grade the test who does not know the student - or grade them mechanically.

4. Authority Approval: A study found that teachers are mostly in support of standardized testing "by an overwhelming two-to-one margin," saying they "improved student attitudes, engagement, and effort." - ProCon.org

5. Cheap: Standardized testing is a cheap and affordable way of testing pupils. Standardized tests cost less than 0.1% of K-12 education spending, totaling $5.81 per student per year: "Even if payments were 10 times as large, they would still not be equal to 1 percent of what American jurisdictions spend on education. - ProCon.org

6. Student Approval: Students also show a tremendous amount of support for standardized testing. A study found that 79% of students believe test questions are fair on standardized testing. And 71% of students think the amount of tests they need to take is just about right. So with the student's approval and teacher's approval - why change anything at all?

7. Parents Approval: 75% of parents are in agreement that standardized testing is a solid and accurate way to see where a student lied academically. While 61% of parents say that the amount of testing their kids go through is a good and fair amount. So if the vast majority of teachers, students, and now parents agree with the testing - why rid of it?

8. "Teaching to the test" may be benefitial: This is a quote from the US board of education on teaching to the test and how it may be positive: "if teachers cover subject matter required by the standards and teach it well, then students will master the material on which they will be tested--and probably much more." This quote shows how the US board of education is pointing out that it may be a good thing for teachers to focus on certain - core concepts that pupils need to know.

9. Success already made: Lets take China as an example. China is one of the most tested countries in the world - mostly in the standardized format. China is also the 1# country who knows and embraces reading, math, and science.

10. Teacher Examination: Standardized testing measures how much of the cirriculum students have learned and have understanded. If a certain class does not do well on the test as a whole - it may be possible that the teacher is not doing their job and the school can look for a replacement. This is a good way to see which teachers are doing the best they can to help their students learn - and which teachers just go for the easy paycheck.


Citations: ProCon.org

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Thank you all for your time - and I am looking forward to some passionate debate! ~ Sara
mentalist

Con

I thank my opponent for raising a very important issue.

I would first like to state that I feel the issues that plague schools stem from viruses that pollute society in general. In my opinion, these issues cannot be tackled in schools until they are honestly confronted and addressed in society. However, for the purpose of this debate I will attempt to couch an international dynamic within a scholastic paradigm. The issues I allude to include classism, poverty, racism and many other concerns and controversies that are relevant to the effectiveness of standardized testing. I will refer to these topics as they relate to standardized testing during the debate.

As I stated in the comments section, standardized testing would be more accurate if schools were standardized. As it stands, schools are basically still separate and unequal. Meaning, many underprivileged schools are expected to achieve the same results as fully funded, avant-garde schools. Can this be done? Yes, on occassion. Should this be expected? No.

"As of 2011 48 percent of all public school students were poor* and this year, students of color will account for the majority of public school students for the first time in US history...What is surprising about these shifts is that they are not leading to more diverse schools. In fact, the Civil Rights Project has shown that black students are just as segregated today as they were in the late 1960s, when serious enforcement of desegregation plans first began following the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act." [1]

While it is clear that diversity provides a more enriching scholastic experience, I would like to make it clear that segregation is not the major problem. The main problem is that schools that house underprivileged and/or melaninated children are not provided with the same level of finances, support or resources as schools that house privileged or affluent students.

True education should employ more of a nurturing what's within than an instilling from without concept. When I see or hear debates regarding what's best for students the one variable that is usually missing is input from the student's themselves.

Standardized testing is not an accurate method of assessing a student's true grasp of the purpose, relevance or potential of the information they have processed. With so much attention paid to teaching to the test, students often receive little to no knowledge of how to apply the information dealt with in the tests in a real world setting.

What's Wrong With Standardized Tests?

Are standardized tests fair and helpful evaluation tools?

Not really. On standardized exams, all test takers answer the same questions under the same conditions, usually in multiple-choice format. Such tests reward quick answers to superficial questions. They do not measure the ability to think deeply or creatively in any field. Their use encourages a narrowed curriculum, outdated methods of instruction, and harmful practices such as grade retention and tracking.

Are standardized tests objective?

The only objective part of most standardized tests is scoring, when done by an accurately programmed machine. Deciding what items to include on the test, how questions are worded, which answers are scored as "correct,” how the test is administered, and the uses of exam results are all made by subjective human beings.

Are test scores "reliable"?

A test is completely reliable if you would get exactly the same results the second time you administered it. All tests have "measurement error." This means an individual's score may vary significantly from day to day due to testing conditions or the test-taker's mental or emotional state. Scores of young children and scores on sub-sections of tests are particularly unreliable.

Do test scores reflect significant differences among people?

Not necessarily. The goal of most tests is to sort and rank. To do that, test makers make small differences appear large. Questions most people get right or wrong are removed because they don’t help with ranking. Because of measurement error, two people with very different scores on one exam administration might get similar scores on a retest, or vice versa. On the SAT, for example, two students' scores must differ by at least 144 points (out of 1,600) before the test’s sponsors are willing to say the students' measured abilities really differ.

Don't test-makers remove bias from tests?

Most test-makers review items for obvious biases, such as offensive words. But many forms of bias are not superficial. Test-makers also use statistical bias-reduction techniques. However, these cannot detect underlying bias in the test's form or content. As a result, biased cultural assumptions built into the test as a whole often are not removed by test-makers.

Do tests reflect current knowledge about how students learn?

Not at all. While our understanding of the brain and how people learn and think has progressed enormously, standardized tests have remained the same. Test makers still assume that knowledge can be broken into separate bits and that people learn by absorbing these individual parts. Today, cognitive and developmental psychologists understand that knowledge is not separable bits and that people (including children) learn by connecting what they already know with what they are trying to learn. If they cannot actively make meaning out of what they are doing, they do not learn or remember.

Do multiple-choice or short-answer tests measure important student achievement?

These kinds of tests are very poor yardsticks of student learning. They are weak measures of the ability to comprehend complex material, write, apply math, understand scientific methods or reasoning, or grasp social science concepts. Nor do they adequately measure thinking skills or assess what people can do on real-world tasks.

Are test scores helpful to teachers?

Classroom surveys show most teachers do not find scores from standardized tests scores very useful. The tests do not help a teacher understand what to do next in working with a student because they do not indicate how the student learns or thinks. Nor do they measure much of what students should learn. Good evaluation provides useful information to teachers.
How has “No Child Left Behind” (NCLB) affected the use of standardized tests in the U.S.?
NCLB has led to a huge increase in testing. It requires state testing of every student in grades 3-8 and once in high school, more than twice previous federal mandates. NCLB also led to an explosion of other standardized exams, including “benchmark” tests often administered 3-10 times per year. U.S. students are now the most tested on Earth.

What is high-stakes testing?

High-stakes tests are used to make important decisions such as student promotion or graduation, granting teacher tenure, or sanctioning schools for poor performance. Twenty-six states now have graduation tests; some states and districts have tests for grade promotion. NCLB attaches sanctions to test results. Even though NCLB has failed to improve schools, policy makers continue to expand high-stakes test uses such as “value-added” teacher evaluation.

What happens when tests become high stakes?

High-stakes testing often results in a narrow focus on teaching just the tested material (test preparation). Other content in that subject as well as untested subjects such as social studies, art and music are cut back or eliminated. High-stakes testing also produces score inflation: scores go up, but students have not learned more. Their scores are lower even on a different standardized test. This undermines the meaning of test results as well as education.

What are other consequences of high-stakes testing?

Attaching high stakes to test results increases cheating and other efforts to boost scores without improving educational quality. This can be done by arranging for low-scoring students to be absent on test day or pushing them out of school, often into the prison pipeline.

Are there better ways to evaluate student achievement or ability?

Yes. Good teacher observation, documentation of student work, and performance-based assessment, all of which involve the direct evaluation of real learning tasks, provide useful material for teachers, parents, and the public. Many nations that do the best in international comparisons, like Finland, use these techniques instead of large-scale standardized testing. [2]

Racial bias in standardized testing
What many people do not know is that the use of standardized tests has its origins in the Eugenics movement, where basic tenets assert that certain races are inferior to others biologically and intellectually. From our 21st century perspective, we can look back in horror, but we have to be clear about the original purpose of standardized tests. The original IQ tests were designed by French psychologist Alfred Binet for benign and limited uses: a) on young children who were not developing “normally”; b) as “general” tools to make “general” decisions, not a precise measurement for precise decisions; and c) to signal when a child needed more help in their intellectual development. Unfortunately in the United States, IQ scores were posited to be fixed and innate, and were promptly used to rank and sort individuals by race and ethnic background. Businesses, government agencies and educational institutions used IQ tests to justify placing certain people into certain jobs and excluding them from others….[3]

This, it is my assertion that standardized testing is not a good thing if the goal is to produce a well rounded student with skills that will make them productive, industrious and independent in a post academic setting.

I await a response from my opponent.






http://www.urban.org... [1]
http://www.fairtest.org... [2]
http://parentsacrossamerica.org... [3]
Debate Round No. 1
sara_ann_dee

Pro

(Hello and thank you for joining my debate)

I will now pose my counterarguments for the following areas which you presented.

ROUND 2: COUNTERARGUMENTS:

(Rebuttal for "evaluation tools"): Many states have switched to the PARCC testing system which is digitally formated. I personally have taken the test and so have others that I met and so I speak by experience by saying this: not all the questions are the same because that would make cheating much easier, I asked about 100 kids in my grade and none of us had the same questions as anyone else. The questions on standardized testing are not meant to measure deep and creative thinking - they are to measure if you can understand a math problem or read a passage correctly and understand that. While deep thinking may be importaint for life - it is not a skill that you would aquire at any school you would go to. As I said before, many states upgrated their testing material to PARCC testing - so no cirriculum is really "out of date."

(Rebuttal for "objective"): As you have said - tests that states have switched to like the PARCC are computer graded and are not biased. While the questions on the test are generated by humans - the people who make the test are certified to do so, and take it seriously, they have degrees and subjects like math and history - there is only one correct answer. While English open-responces are graded by humans - they have expirence and do not know the person who wrote the passage to mess around with their work or give them an unfair / or too fair or a score.

(Rebuttal for "reliability"): What you explained in this section is exactly correct - but there is a reason why that is not an isssue. There are many schools who take the test multiple times a year (with different questions of course) and with roughly the same concepts included in the tests. This gives the school an accurate measure of what the pupil has learned / understands on average. There is a reason why these tests do not count as a grade - it is just to see a pretty accurate level of each child's enhancement.

(Rebuttal for "differences"): I am not picking up on the poing you are trying to make?

(Rebuttal for "bias"): That is simply untrue. Most tests are computerized at this point at the computer does the scorng. The computer can not possibly have a bias because it is a machiene. That is another reason why most tests are given electronically - so the computer can check for curse words or anything biased before it goes to a person for scoring (that is usually for only English portions). The tests that are given on paper - are mostly multiple choice. And if the student answers A and the correct answer is A, you cannot mark them wrong, because there is no biased for those questions because there is only one correct answer. The people who grade the paper - writting portions do not know the individual whom took the test for obvious reasons - as we have both agreed on. If there was no such thing as standardized testing - and the teacher was grading all the tests to see where a student/s were at, that would contain much more of a bias than standardized testing does because the teacher knows the kid and can be biased and twist answers around to be unfair - thankfully, that is not the case in this scenerio.

(Rebuttal for "knowledge"): That is the point of standardized testing though - to see what a student understands and learns. It is to see if they are "actively making meaning out of what they are doing." That is the whole concept. The test covers the whole cirriculum that the student needs to know and understand - and that is all the "knowlegde" they need to know for the grade to pass. If a student does poorly in a certain area - there is a reason for it, that is the reason why we have these tests, so we can find these reasons and fix them. There is no other way around it unless you want to include a lot more bias.

(Rebuttal for "achievement"): Where did you get this information from? That is an opinon of yours which you will need to cite for anyone to believe you.

(Rebuttal for "teachers"): Did you read my first argument? A survey found that more teachers support standardized testing than don't with a vote of 2-1. That means that 66% of teachers support it 2/3 teachers.

(Rebuttal for " stakes"): That is what I am trying to say - these tests are an accurate messure if a teacher is doing their job and if the students are learning the ciricculum they need to know (refrence back to my first argument for evidence on this portion of the argument.

(Rebuttal for "high stakes"): There is no boost to be offered from standardized testing. It is only to see if Ex. a student will not struggle in an honors class or will understnad what they ar learning and comprehending all the material in the next grade. If a student is absent, they are rescheduled to take it another time - ther is no escaping it, it is mandatory. And it is not possible to push them out of school because they do not do well on a test - the test is to do the opposite of that.

(Rebuttal for "ability"): Teachers have biased "which you wanted to avoid." This is documentation of student work over a period of time because the scores are saved. The tests are given to see where the student is at on a performance level. Finland actually does do standardized testing - they are the 1# country in the world for standardized testing and test really high on other non-standardized tests because of that.

(Rebuttal for "racism"): There is no racism involved in scoring these tests because the people / machienes who score these tests do not know what race or culture these students come from - they do not even know the person in real life.


I rest my case.
mentalist

Con

I appreciate my opponent's response.

I will address your counterarguments:

PARCC tesing: The PARCC is only being used officially by a small group of states (approx. 15) as well as D.C..[1] As stated, standardized tests are a false, superficial measure of assesment. As you alluded to by stating, " The questions on standardized testing are not meant to measure deep and creative thinking - they are to measure if you can understand a math problem or read a passage correctly and understand that." If these tests are supposedly meant to prepare students for mcollege and careers, how can they omit assessment of creative or complex thinking. While you may think deep or analytical thinking cannot be aquired at any school, I assert that it depends on the school and the teacher. Focusingh on standardized testing and how to work the computer that administers the test does interfere with such endeavors. Although fairly new, the tests are already being criticized by parents, teachers, students and administrators.

Here are some responses:

Parents and teachers flooded Wednesday’s open public testimony session to complain about the new tests, which will be administered to all students in grades 3-11 in March and again in May. Some held “No PARCCING” signs. Others pulled their children out of class to have them testify.

Marie Corfield, a teacher in Flemington, said the combination of the new Common Core standards and the implementation of PARCC tests has teachers “overwhelmed, stressed to the breaking point.” “I feel like I’m living in a bad dream and can’t wake up,” Corfield said.[2]

Some schools have downsized or closed their libraries to make room for more computers that can be used for testing, said Arlen Kimmelman, president of the New Jersey Assocation of School Libraries. While the addition of more technology may seem beneficial, students don’t know how to use it if the libraries aren’t open for them to meet with librarians, Kimmelman said. “The testing shouldn’t be squeezing out school library sources that are needed for students to be college and career ready,” Kimmelman said.[2]

a sixth-grader...isn’t planning to take the exams. PARCC takes time away from classes that teach students to be creative, original, intelligent and brave, she said. “Unfortunately testifying in front of the State School Board isn’t all fun and games, because I will now have go write up a report about my experience here today and present it to my social studies class,”...“There are no standardized answers for this kind of education. "[2]

Jacob Hartmann...said he doesn’t feel teachers are truthful about the importance of the tests, which are planned to eventually become a graduation requirement. Some teachers have said PARCC tests aren’t important, but others have told students their performance will impact their future. “I’m more than positive that if I do decide to attend Princeton, they will not be asking about my PARCC scores,” Hartmann said.[2]

Screens freezing was only one of several common complaints about the PARCC field tests at schools across the state. ..88.4 percent of school administrators in the state expressed “anxiety” about the forthcoming PARCC tests, citing as major issues computers that either didn’t work or logged students out without warning, and confusing instructions. Shutz blames the freezing screens on inadequate computers and poorly designed software. “Half the problems were with the test, and half were with our technology,” she says.[3]

Standardized test objectivity: The PARCC test are no more objective than previous standardized tests. While the grading is computerized, the questions are created by humans and thus prone to bias.

Standardized test reliability: These tests are always more focused on memorization and regurgitation of information than grasping the concepts involved.

Differences (amongst scores): The scoring methods are not reliable, inasmuch as differences in score do not necessarily illustrate differences in ability or comprehension between test takers.

Bias: The bias that is being referred to is bias inherent in the test itself. This is often referred to as cultural bias.

Here are some related issues:

Schools at times suspend, expel, “counsel out” or otherwise remove students with low scores in order to boost school results and escape test-based sanctions mandated by the federal government’s “No Child Left Behind” law, at great cost to the youth and ultimately society.

“although in recent years test makers have attempted to address concerns about test bias by establishing review committees to ‘scour’ the tests for bias, and by using statistical procedures, significant problems remain in the content of the questions, the cultural assumptions inherent in the ‘wanted’ answers, etc.”

Discriminatory item selection:Jay Rosner, executive director of the Princeton Review Foundation, which provides test preparation programs for the college-entrance Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), reported in 2003 that potential SAT questions which are answered correctly more often by black students than white students are rejected by the test makers. This was apparently done to assure that test results (showing African-Americans scoring lower than whites) would be “consistent” from year to year.

Outright racism:A series of questions on the 2006 global history New York State Regents exam asked students to describe how Africa “benefitted” from imperialism. Using this 150-year-old quote: “We are endeavoring … to teach the native races to conduct their own affairs with justice and humanity, and to educate them alike in letters and in industry,” students were asked to name “two ways the British improved the lives of Africans.”

Socio-economic bias masquerading as cultural diversity:The 2006 New York State Regents third grade reading practice test used the example of African-American tennis stars Serena and Venus Williams to ask children questions about tennis “doubles” and country clubs.

Lack of cultural awareness:A Latina “bias reviewer” caught this item while reviewing questions prepared for the Iowa Test of Basic Skills. “I remember one question that showed a picture of a couch on a porch and asked, ‘What doesn’t fit?’ ” she says. “I started laughing…the way I grew up, everyone had a couch outside.”[4]

Standardized tests :knowledge' accuracy: My opponent states, "The test covers the whole cirriculum that the student needs to know and understand." Perhaps, but from who's perpsective. Standardized test assume that everyone learns in the same manner. This is not always the case.

Standardized test (achievement): I cited my source. It mentions how Finland uses thes techniques rather than large scale standardized testing.

"...Standardized achievement test scores should be regarded as rough approximations of a student's status with respect to the content domain represented by the test. For several important reasons, standardized achievement tests should not be used to judge the quality of education. The overarching reason that students' scores on these tests do not provide an accurate index of educational effectiveness is that any inference about educational quality made on the basis of students' standardized achievement test performances is apt to be invalid. Employing standardized achievement tests to ascertain educational quality is like measuring temperature with a tablespoon. Tablespoons have a different measurement mission than indicating how hot or cold something is. Standardized achievement tests have a different measurement mission than indicating how good or bad a school is. Standardized achievement tests should be used to make the comparative interpretations that they were intended to provide. They should not be used to judge educational quality."[6] Basically standardized test measure how well inequality, classism and segregation in schools has worked.

Standardized Test (Teacher support): It depends on the teacher. Many teachers do not support the tests or the testing.


Standardized Test (Stakes): There should be no punishment for teachers until school are standardizedf and offered the same amount of support. Why should a teacher responsible for 30+ students be expected to perform at the same level as a teacher responsible for 15-20 (on average)?

Standardized Test (high stakes): Threatening to fire teachers or take away school funding is high stakes. Students that are suspected to perform poorly on these tests are suspended.

Standardized Test (Ability): Finland uses these test at the secondary level, yet, do not solely depend on them for assessment.

Here are some suggested reasons why Finland excels in education:

- The Finnish school system uses the same curriculum for all students.

- Students have light homework loads.

- Finnish schools do not have classes for gifted students.

- Finland uses very little standardized testing.

- Finland has a comprehensive preschool program that emphasizes “self-reflection” and socializing, not academics.

- Grades are not given until high school, and even then, class rankings are not compiled.

- School funding is higher for the middle school years, the years when children are most in danger of dropping out.

- College is free in Finland.[5]

Standardized Test (Racism): As stated, the racism is in the development of the tests, not the scoring.

Standardized tests assume that all sttudents learn the same and have had the same quality education. This is a flawed assumption.


I await my opponent's response.



http://www.parcconline.org... [1]
http://www.nj.com... [2]
http://njmonthly.com... [3]
http://parentsacrossamerica.org... [4]
http://www.greatschools.org... [5]
http://www.ascd.org... [6]

Debate Round No. 2
sara_ann_dee

Pro

ROUND 3 - FINAL COUNTERARGUMENTS: (Thanks for your responces)

(Rebuttal for "removing students"): The "No Child Left Behind" law actually helps kids stay in school and be able to keep up with the others.

(Rebuttal for "item selection"): I do not think that they were signaling anyone spasifically out - I think that they were trying to make things easier to compare then beforehand for races, ethnicity etc.

(Rebuttal for "Racism"): But that is not racist - they were talking historically how the British culture effected the African culture.

(Rebuttal for " economic bias"): I do not see a problem with that? What - we will just allow white people to be examples on test questions? That is more racist than actually allowing them in a test. What does tennis have to do with racism? Please explain that further.

(Rebuttal for "cultures"): She was reviewing the Iowa skills test which is located in the United States, and follows the US culture. She was Latina you meantioned - if you would just look at the SAT questions for people in her native country, that will more likely fit her culture.

(Rebuttal for "knowledge accuracy"): That is exactly why we have these tests in the first place - to see everyone's level and compare it to where they should be (reffering to the material on the test).

(Rebuttal for "Teacher support"): I cited my evidence on this as well - a study found that more teachers support standardized testing with a vote of 2-1. Yes, it depends on the teacher, and yes, more teachers support it then those who don't.

(Rebuttal for "stakes"): Because it does not matter the amount of kids the teacher has - you see, it all matters how they teacher teaches them. The number of students is irrelivent.

(Rebuttal for "High stakes"): Do you have proof that these students who are "expected" to preform poorly on the tests are suspended? What score does the school need to "estimate" that they make? You see, that is a very broad assumption.

(Rebuttal for "Ability"): But they still do use them - you want to get rid of the testing alltogether. You keep explaining how that country is so successful - and standardized testing (even at a secondary level) is contributing to that excelence.

(Rebuttal for "Finland"): You keep using this country as an example. But Finland is a VERY VERY small country and is easier to fund and control their school districts for educational purposes. I believe we are talking about the USA banning these tests - and as we all know, the USA is one of the biggest countries in the world. And with more land to control - it faces more challenges and dissagreements for education. You cannot compare Finland's success to the USA's because the land size is much different and it is simply not possible for the USA to preform exactly like those other countries you have brought up in your previous arguments.

(Rebuttal for "Racism"): It is not possible to make those test questions rasict unless there is clearly a slang or vulgur term. The previous examples which you mentioned are not racist (if they are, please explain further). And yes, there will be some racism because not every person who makes up these tests is going to be truthful about what they put on it. But the questions have to pass multiple sets of people before it offically goes on a test - and one of those people is bound to object (probobly more) which does not make racism a real issue. There is probobly even more racism going on in classrooms themselves then on these tests.

(Rebuttal for "quality education"): Of course it is! That is the reason why we have these tests - so we can see where all the students are preforming at an academic level. And if they are NOT preforming up to par (as they should be) then the school can provide additional (needed) aid to the students that need it - and teach them a different way if they have to so that they understand it. This is the only way to compare preformance to the common core standards.


I rest my case on this debate.

(I want to thank my opponent for joining this debate. He stuck to his point and had really strong arguments. I want to additionally thank him for being serious throughout the debate to get the full benefit from the discourse on such a controversial topic. I had fun debating this topic with you and I am looking forward to your final argument and responces.)
mentalist

Con

I appreciate my opponent's viewpoint, however, they seem to be viewing the situation through rose colored glasses.

Issues not adequately addressed by my opponent:

1. Classism - The disparity between acceess to resources, support and funding between schools is tremendous and very relevant to this debate.
"America's education system is unequal and unfair. Students who live in wealthy communities have huge advantages that rig the system in their favor. They have more experienced teachers and a much lower student-teacher ratio. They have more modern facilities, more up-to-date computer and science equipment, and more up-to-date textbooks. They have more elective courses, more music and art offerings, and more extracurricular programs. They have better libraries, more guidance counselors and superior athletic facilities...Not surprisingly, affluent students in well-off school districts have higher rates of high school graduation, college attendance and entry to the more selective colleges. This has little to do with intelligence or ability. For example, 82 percent of affluent students who had SAT scores over 1200 graduate from college. In contrast, only 44 percent of low-income students with the same high SAT scores graduate from college. This wide gap can't be explained by differences in motivation or smarts. It can, however, be explained by differences in money." [1]

2. Racism - There are clear historical and current issues regarding racism that affect schools and education on all levels.

"My research shows that black parents homeschool their children due to white racism. This may come as a surprise since, for many, we live in an age of alleged color blindness and post-racialism, characterized by the declining significance of race and racism. My research found strong evidence to suggest that racism is far from being a thing of the past. I found covert institutional racism and individual racism still persist and are largely responsible for the persistence of profound racial disparities and inequalities in many social realms." [2]

"Public school students of color get more punishment and less access to veteran teachers than their white peers...Such discrimination lowers academic performance for minority students and puts them at greater risk of dropping out of school..."[3]

3. Poverty - Teaching children that are poverty-stricken requires more innovative approaches and techniques than those offered by traditional educational methods. One thing that is striking about Finland's educational sysem is that they do not allow obvious differences in quality of schools or education to exist. This illustrates what is lacking in schools in the U.S.. Namely, a genuine concern for all students involved in the process, an earnest desire to provide equal access and a willingness to offer the necessary support needed to implement a quality educational program at all levels of the educational process.

"Poverty is on the rise in America and is creating a phenomenon known as the "poverty trap."..This is important for schools because poverty greatly decreases student learning ability, and public schools and teachers must become more creative at finding ways to mitigate the negative effects of poverty in the classroom. During an era of increasing public education "reform," it's important to keep poverty in mind as a factor of student achievement...The US is currently one of only three countries in the in the OECDOECD community..that spend as little on welfare for families in poverty, that do as little for helping children in poverty, and that do not equalize educational opportunity for children in poor communities..."[4]

4. Student input - The input, opinion, or concerns of students is rarely asked for by those who design and maintain the educational system. This is, at least, bad business practice. From a business standpoint alone, it is crucial to understand and meet the needs of your target audience.

"School districts must specifically seek student input in developing their Local Control and Accountability Plans under the revised regulations being considered for adoption by the State Board of Education Friday...“If students didn’t get a formal process, if we had no opportunity to give our voice – our voice was considered dead,”"[5]

Counterrebuttal for student removal: NCLB is considered to be a failure.

"No Child Left Behind is really, really unpopular. Roughly three in 10 Americans think the George W. Bush-era federal education law has actually worsened the quality of education...children from low-income families...continue to struggle with vastly inadequate educational opportunities,” wrote Julian Zelizer, a Princeton history professor...Despite its bipartisan roots, No Child Left Behind, Zelizer argued, has done little to reverse those trends."[6]

Counterrebuttal for item selection: Cultural bias is not always purposeful, however, in this case it appeared to be. As the citation states, "This was apparently done to assure that test results (showing African-Americans scoring lower than whites) would be “consistent” from year to year." Meaning instead of assuring unbiased results, the designers were apparently basing their desired outcomes on the lopsided results measured in the past.

Counterrebuttal for Racism: To many, it is racist to suggest that imperialism improved the lives of Africans. It is also racist to suggest that the Africans were not conducting their own affairs with justice and humanity.

Counterrebuttal for Socio-economic bias: The citation mentioned regarded the question as socio-economic bias masquerading as cultural diversity. How many underpriveleged 3rd graders can relate to questions about tennis “doubles” and country clubs? It is important to note that both Venus and Serena Williams were trained by their father due to the racism and bias in the sport of tennis.

"...In 1991 Richard Williams, who managed and coached both Serena and Venus...decided that they should enter no more tournaments on the national junior circuit...he hoped to avoid subjecting his daughters to competitive pressures, including an undertone of racial hostility."[7]

Counterrebuttal for cultures: My opponent states, "...if you would just look at the SAT questions for people in her native country, that will more likely fit her culture." A statement like this illustrates cultural bias. You cannot assume that because she was a Latina that she was not born in America. The U.S. is a hodgepodge of different cultures. The test should be designed from a world view and not through a eurocentric lens.

Counterrebuttal for knowledge accuracy: As stated, these tests are more about memorization and regurgitation of information rather than grasping and implementing concepts.

Counterrebuttal for teacher support: My opponent's source states, "After No Child Left Behind (NCLB) passed in 2002, the US slipped from 18th in the world in math on the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) to 31st place in 2009, with a similar drop in science and no change in reading..."Despite using them for several decades, policymakers and educators do not yet know how to use test-based incentives to consistently generate positive effects on achievement and to improve education."[8]
"The movement to boycott standardized tests and reform test-based accountability systems current being implemented across the country is growing. Though exact numbers are impossible to know, students, teachers, principals, parents, superintendents and others are speaking out for the first time calling on policy-makers to roll back test-based school reform — and in many places students are simply refusing to take new Common Core and similar standardized tests... Another important development has been the rapid increase in state and local teacher unions openly battling the overuse and misuse of tests and backing the right of parents to opt out..."[9]

Counterrebuttal for stakes: My opponent stated: "The number of students is irrelivent." However, it has been proven that, "Class size is a proven and effective reform."[10]

"The use of suspensions contributes to our achievement gap. Three quarters of suspensions of students 7 and younger are imposed on minority students, according to state data. Exclusionary discipline – suspensions, expulsions and student arrests – is more heavily used in our poorest school districts. "[11]

Counterrebuttal for ability: I am only saying test can't be standardized until school's are.

Counterrebuttal for Finland: None of the reasons cited for Finland's success are unachievable for the U.S..

Counterrebuttal for racism: Cultural bias does not require slang or vulgarity. This is why standardized testing is not as important as true connections between teachers and students.

Counterrebuttal for quality education: For anyone to suggest that every student in the U.S receives the same quality of education is a miscarriage of justice, to say the least.

Again, I thank my opponent for participation in this discourse.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com... [1]
http://www.washingtonpost.com... [2]
http://www.huffingtonpost.com... [3]
http://www.truth-out.org... [4]
http://edsource.org... [5]
http://www.theatlantic.com... [6]
http://www.encyclopedia.com... [7]
http://standardizedtests.procon.org... [8]
http://www.washingtonpost.com... [9]
http://parentsacrossamerica.org... [10]
http://ctmirror.org... [11]
Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by sara_ann_dee 1 year ago
sara_ann_dee
woah Woah WOAH... mentalist... save it for the debate if you are gonna even join...
Posted by mentalist 1 year ago
mentalist
Standardized tests would be more accurate if schools were standardized. As it stands, schools are basically still separate and unequal. (http://www.pbs.org...) (http://www.pbs.org...)
Classism and racism play a large greatly affect the quality of education received in schools. Also, standardized tests have drawbacks (http://www.fairtest.org...)
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