Saturday, May 12, 2007

MLA style works Cited

Bowean, Lolly. "After Gary strike, test looms ; Standardized state exam around corner." Chicago Tribune. Sept. 3, 2006, Chicagoland final edition:3. Proquest. April 24, 2007.

Bridges, Linda. "Incentive pay would fail teachers and students." Austin American Statesman. April 12, 2007. final edition:A13. proquest. April 17, 2007.

Hurwitz, Nina and Sol. "Tests That Count." American School Board Journal. Jan. 2000.:20-25. Sirs. April 22, 2007.

Kim, Arheun. "Cheating on Standardized Test Blamed on Flawed System." Gannett News Service. June 21, 2000. Sirs. April 22, 2007.

Sadowski, Michael. "Are High-Stakes Tests Worth the Wager?" Harvard Education Letter. Oct. 2000.:1-5. Sirs. April 19, 2007.

Susswein, Gary. "78th Legislature: Capitol Roundup." Austin American Statesman. March 20, 2003.:B5. proquest. April 17, 2007.

Vise, Daniel. "A Concentrated Approach to Exams; Rockville School's Efforts Raise Questions of Test-Prep Ethics." The Washington Post. Mar. 4, 2007. final edition:C1. Proquest. April 24, 2007.

Wetzel, Bill. "No More Tests!" Mothering. Dec. 2002.:68-71. Sirs. April 19, 2007.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Research Paper Outline


Attention Getter:?????
Preview: On the good side of standardized testing we have the fact that it motivates students and teachers to reach high standards. They also ensure that students will have basic academic skills by the time they get their highschool diploma. On the bad side they demoralize kids that do bad on the test and aren't exactly fair for people that have a different ethnic background. Also they encourage teachers to teach fact memorization and test tricks rather than important skills.
Thesis: There are both posotives and negatives of haveing high-stakes testing.


Paragraph 1(F): TS: One of the reasons people support high stakes testing, is that it provides an incentive to reach for high standards.
What some might call the Texas miracle, once Texas had starded a high stakes testing program. the test scores in the state went way up. Its pass rates went up a total of 27% from 53% to 80%. This got texas to be ranked #2 out of 44 of the US states on score gains (#1 North Carolina). Chicago also saw similar, though not as large, test score jumps when it started high stakes testing. (Source 1) The great score improvements in Texas lead to a majority of people in Texas thinking standardized tests are a good thing,according to a state wide survey. (Source 3) Before this, Texas used to be a state that was very low on the educational scales, but now it's test scores have risen 4 years in a row. Likewise, Chicago used to be the worst school district in the nation but now thanks to the motivation of high stakes testing has had raising test scores for at least 3 years. (source 6) After the introduction of high stakes tests in california 71 % of it's public schools saw a jump u in test scores that was at least somewhat significant.(source 9)

Paragraph 2(F): TS: Another reason why some support it is that it, ensures students graduate with basic academic skills, and helps to improve the schools.
26 of the 50 states in the USA have high school graduation exams. Minnesota is one of those states, and the graduation tests are commonly known as the BST's, or the Basic Skills Tests. By requiring students to pass a standardized test to graduate, the state makes sure that the students have at least a basic understanding of important academic skills that they may use throughout various parts of their lifetime.(source 6)The use of high school exit exams is supported by about 80% of the adults in America.(source 1) Retaining students that get bad test scores helps even out the catching up students would need to do if they just failed the graduation exam, therefore helping students get a complete education.(source 6) After High stakes are introduced, in many cases like Texas, Chicago, and California, test scores seem to go up because it gives teachers and students a reason to do better, thus improving the schools.(source 9)

Paragraph 3(A): TS: A reason why some dislike standardized testing is, they demoralize students that do bad, and are somewhat racially biased.
In september 2006, many students hearts sank as a teacher strike ended. this feeling was because there was a test just two weeks out that would determine for some if they would graduate and for others if they would get to go to the next grade at the end of the year. For some students, tests like these make them extremely stressed, weeks in advance, because of the fear of retention or summer school.(source 8) If students do not pass a high stakes test often they are held back for a grade. This would help them get a decent education, except that it damages their self- confidence and, has been shown that being retained, has the highest connection with students dropping out and is 2 times as high as any other known possible factor, including race.(source 6) It has been shown in multiple studies that minority students are less likely to do well on the standardized tests that we Americans take throughout grade school.(source 6) For example, in Texas the pass rates for whites were about 92%, while the pass rates for African Americans and Latino students were both around 76%, a 16% difference!(source 1)

Paragraph 4(A): TS: Another reason why people don't like them is because, they encourage curriculum based on fact memorization and test tricks rather than important skills.
When the govt. linked students' futures and teachers pay to the students' scores on tests, the students and teachers naturaly wanted to do better on these test by any possible means(source 4). One way they do this is by teaching the students test-tricks that will help them score better on the standardized test but doesn't consist of useful learning strategies. An example is the 3 of a letter in a row, by which if a student has answerd three of the same letter in a row at least one is likely to be incorrect, since the writers prbably wouldn't put the same answer 3 times in a row. (source 9) Another way is to "teach the test". This is when the schools stop their lesson plans to prepare for the upcoming test, so that the students do well on that one specific test.(source 5) This also hurts students because they aren't being taught valueble knowledge or usefull skills.(source 9) In Texas, the state where the test scores are so high, some of the schools set aside their lessons 3 months in advance!(9) The students during this test prep period are learning things that they a meant to forget as soon as they finnish the tests.(1) The final, and worst, thing that some teachers and students do is cheat on these tests. Since the effects of having good or bad scores can be life changing, some see cheeting as the only way to stay safe. some ways that teachers have been known to cheet include: changing answers after the test is over, rewriting essays for students, leaving the answers to a test somewhere visible, and taking the test completely for students that don't show up on the test day.(source 6)

Paragraph 5(MO): ?????


Restate Thesis: High-stakes testing has both pros and cons.
Review main points: They get students to want to do well, as well as get teachers to want the students to do well. The also make sure students get at lest some basic knowledge out of school. However the make kids feel bad when they don't get good scores, and are also somewhat racist. Also since the stakes, for doing good or bad on the tests, are often very high, the tests encourage cheating and the teaching of test-taking tricks.
Attention Leaver:?????

Friday, April 20, 2007

Annotated Bibliography


Harvard Education Letter
For and Against Testing

Most people fall into one of four catagories in their view on standardized testing. 1) it's a good idea because they create incentives for students and teachers to meet high achievement standards. 2) it's a good idea because they help to ensure that students graduate with at least a basic understanding of basic academic skills. 3) it's a bad idea because it demoralizes the kids that do poorly and are biased racialy and ethnicly. 4) it's a bad idea because it encourages a curriculum based on memorizing facts and learning tricks to help you take tests.
Two of the most studied and contoversial testing programs are those of Texas and of Chicago.

Mothering, No More Tests!
Against Testing

Children's education has become a stress filled marathon of boredom, superficial learning and test taking. The Mass. MCA's take approxomatly seventeen hours to complete, and the test in California, the stanford 9's take up a whole two weeks of school!
However there is a growing movement against tests. One common method of keeping track of a students progress without tests is the use of portfolios. with out standardized tests, some scientists think, students of today would be able to be more creative.

Study texans favor exams
For Testing

This article has survey statistics from a statewide survey in texas on it. 55-61% of people look favorably upon standardized testing in schools. 66-72% believe that it is a good tool for mesuring accountability. 8-14% are undecided. 5-11% are against it.
Austin American Statesman
Against testing

Jamie Story gave a commentary that supported standardized tests and incentive pay. However, the author of this article disagrees. Incentive pay is linking teachers pay to student's test scores. 92% of teachers opposed to incentive pay according to a survey. Although a minority of teachers would benefit from the incentive pay, it would be better for most if the just got an $850 per year pay raise. Believes that the Houstan incentive plan is a failure. He then gives his idea of a better plan that he thinks would work.
Cheating on standardized tests blamed on flawed system
Mostly Against Testing

Standardized tests don't match up with the curriculum very well. the highest amount of overlap was 46% in a fifth grade science classroom. Lowest was 5%. Some teachers rsort to bending the rules of the tests to get around this disadvantage. Most school ditricts use student test scores as one criterion for evaluating teachers' preformance sometimes low preforming schools face harsh punishments. with the pressure to do good some teachers resort to cheating or a strategy known as "teaching to the test". Another problem is that only sixteen of the states have their own customized standardized test.

Tests That Count
For and Against Testing

Texas Chicago and New York City are being carefully watched by decision makers for both positve and negative lessons. Some parents and civil rights groups are challenging the tests on racial and equity, while some teachers are challenging the tests whether they actually improve learning or not. All the teachers teachers believe that they should be more aligned with the curriculum. dissagreements between states and school ditricts sometimes end up having the kids take two tests. High stake testing may be a large political issue in the near future. The turnaround in Texas is a great success story of how their standardized testing program transformed it from an educational backwater to "a model of equity, progress and acountability. In Chicago another miracle story of how their high stakes program greatly improved teir school district. However New York City had a dimsal expirience with high stakes testing.

A Concentrated approach to exams
Mostly Against Testing

According to this article, the principal of Wood Middle School in Rockville decided to get a list of students and crossed off the names of students that the teachers knew would pass the test, and those that the teachers thought had no chance of passing the test. Those that were left would be the ones that recieved 45 minutes of test prep class four days a week. by focusing on these students the school hoped to raise the pass rate significantly. Many educators believe that this kind of test-prep is now a common practice in many schools across the nation. Another principal said that she fears losing her job if her schools scores on standardized tests aren't adequate for too long. One school got a 68% pass rate which is higher than the state average of 65%, but they didn't make adequate progress so they were punnished anyways.

After Gary Strike, Test Looms
Against Testing

Just two weeks after the start of classes after the Gary teachers strike ended the 10th grade students of Gary Indiana, will have to take the ISTEP, the state standardized test. Gary had already ranked one of the lowest in the state on test scores. One of the reasons the teachers went on strike had to do with the testing. One said,"We are either preparing for a test, coming out of a test, or reviewing a test. This has got to stop!" One of the students tells that he's fine with everything about high school, except the test and it gets harder every year.
Standardized tests: do they ultimately help or hurt students?
More Against than For Testing

Modern day students are being taught test tricks rather than actual knowledge. Also there a often many differences in what the students learn and what they are actually tested on. Since
students success and teachers pay are often linked with standardized tests it is understandable that the teachers stop teaching their curriculum and work on test prep before an upcoming test. This hurts the students more than it helps them since they arent learning valuable skills or knowledge. Some teachers are even being forced to give up their plans so they can prepare the students for the tests ahead. In one school they started preparations three months in advance and stopped their lesson plans in the process. Across the nation students and teachers are getting rewarded or punnished based on the scores of their standardized tests. Since the test have a great influence on the future of the students they a practicaly forced to prep for them. There are some parents, tachers and lawmakers in favor of standardized testing. the intense pressure to do well on these tests has driven some teachers and students to cheating. Most people think that standardized testing doesnt need to be removed, but should be used on an informative basis not to make important decisions about people.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Best Place R.A.F.T.

I've been to a lot of places. However there is one place where I would like to spend my time more than anywhere else. It is just the best place to relax when I am all stressed out over school, homework, and varios other things that I have to do all the time. It also allows me to just get away from my siblings when I need it most. On top of that its walls are painted with my two favorite colors (black and silver). On one wall there is a window through which one can see a beautiful view of the St. Croix river valley off in the distance. On the window is a set of blackout shades so that almost no light enters the room, allowing me to sleep (since I can't sleep if there is any light at all). On the ceiling is a bunch of golden glitter, and when the light is on they sparkle like the stars. One of the walls is painted with a picture of the solar system, some of which you can no longer see because there is a wooden shelf in the way. This place is definetly one of the best places in the world!

Monday, March 19, 2007

3rd Tri Raft (Spring Break)

My spring break was just fine. It wasn't great but, it wasn't that bad either. I spent about half the time doing household chores adn helping my mom while she was on her spring cleaning frenzy. I also didn't sleep as much as probably should have. I still feel just as tired as i did before the break. However, it wasn't entirely miserable. I finished a good book that I was reading. I also spent some of my time playing computer games. The best thing that happened over my break was most likely, getting to see all five of my cousins when they came to visit on Thursday. Most of them live up in Duluth and Superior, and one lives in Indiana, so I don't get to see them very often.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


Attention Getter: ?currently working on this?
State Problem: Global temperatures are rising, causing worse tropical storms and hurricanes, rising ocean levels, more droughts and fires, as well as other problems.
GSPE: Nineteen of the twenty hottest years in recorded history, have been in the years since 1980, showing that in recent years temperatures have been going up on average.
GSCF: There are multiple causes to this rise of temperatures. One of the largest is that the amount of fossil fuels being burned, and other polluting activities, is higher than ever, sending more greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere.
Thesis: Bad problems are stemming from global warming, and unless we find a solution soon, the problems will only get worse.
Paragraph 1(E): There is a lot of evidence showing that global warming not only can exist but also that it is happening right now. Many scientists have shown that CO2, also known as carbon dioxide, and other greenhouse gasses trap heat next to the earth. This heat would normally be reflected back out into space. Recently the amount of carbon dioxide has gone up considerably. Scientists have measured the air content and have found that the amount of carbon dioxide in the air has gone up from about 280 parts per million to approximately 381 parts per million in the last century and a half. Nineteen out of the twenty hottest years in recorded history have been in the years since 1980, showing that the increased greenhouse gasses are actually raising the temperature. Also the ocean temperature has been raised one whole degree centigrade since 1970.
Paragraph 2(E): There is also plenty of evidence showing that the rising temperatures from global warming are causing many problems that most likely get worse if nothing is done to stop global warming. One problem it is causing is that the raised temperatures are melting glaciers and the polar ice caps. Scientists have found that the ice shelf over Greenland is now melting twice as fast as it was melting in 1996. Also, scientists have measured the shrinking of a major glacier in western Antarctica. In seven years alone the glacier had lost 31 cubic kilometers. That glacier alone is raising the ocean level by a little more than a millimeter every hundred years. Many other glaciers and the polar ice caps themselves are also adding to the rising ocean level. Since the ocean temperatures are rising tropical storms and hurricanes are getting stronger since the flourish in warmer water. The amount of level four and level five hurricanes has almost doubled in the last 30 years. Also, hurricanes will be able to occur further away from the equator as the temperature of waters further north and south become warm enough to maintain these storms. Also, the percentage of the earth’s surface suffering from droughts has doubled since the 1970s. This is probably because the heat is drying up more areas causing more droughts.
Paragraph 3(CF): People are burning more fossil fuels, and not just for automobiles either, than any time in the past, releasing more carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere. Cars do play a large part causing about 30 percent of the emissions. Every gallon of gasoline burned puts twenty pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Since burning coal is on of the major ways people generate electricity, the more electricity people use in their daily lives the more carbon dioxide emissions that go into the air. Also, the amount of garbage people throw away effects the carbon dioxide emissions as well. The more people throw away, the more carbon dioxide. However, large businesses contribute the most to greenhouse gas emissions. This is because they do all of the previous causes, and usually in large amounts.
Paragraph 4(CF): Also, people are chopping down forests, therefore killing many plants, for paper, wood, and land. This contributes to global warming because plants take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and put oxygen back into it. If plants are being killed we are eliminating natures way of getting carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. Adversely, if people are planting more trees and other plants it will help lower the amount of carbon dioxide in the air. A single, mature tree absorbs about 48 pounds of carbon dioxide a year. An acre of trees in a forest will, absorb about 2.3 tons of carbon dioxide each year.
Restate Thesis: Bad problems are being crated by global warming, and we need to find a solution soon or the problems will continue to get worse.
SKE+CF: Scientists have found out that there are higher amounts of greenhouse gasses now than ever before. They have also found that it is causing problems like melting the ice caps, worse hurricanes, and more droughts. People are contributing to this by burning more fossil fuels, putting more carbon dioxide into the air, and chopping down trees, eliminating a way of removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Propose Solution(s): In order to eliminate the problems caused by global warming we need to control the ways that we contribute to it. We need to find better ways of generating electricity, and better fuels to run cars on. Preferably ones that put little or no greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere. Also, we should get the governments of countries around the world to pass laws that put limits on the amount of fossil fuels we are allowed to burn. We should also plant more trees and plants, since they take carbon dioxide out of the air. Other than that we can just hope, or pray if you are a religious person, that nature can heal it self.
Attention Leaver:?working on this as well?

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Day 5

Global temperatures are beginning to rise. This is most likely going to lead to problems such as worse tropical storms and hurricanes, rising ocean levels, as well as more droughts and fires.

Scientists have shown that CO2, or carbon-dioxide, traps the heat, that would normaly be reflected back into space, right next to the earth. Teperatures of the ocean water has risen one degree since 1970. Of the twenty hottest years nineteen of them have been in the years since 1980. The amount of carbon-dioxide in the air has gon up from 280 parts per million a to 381 parts per million in the past century and a half. The ice shelf of greenland is melting twice as fast as it was in 1996. The percentage of the Earth's surface suffering from droughts has doubled since the 1970s. Also, scientists have measured the shrinking of a major glacier in west antarctica. In 7 years alone, it had lost 31 cubic kilometers, which is, by itself, raising the ocean level one millimeter every hundred years. There has been a rise in the amount of high level hurricanes.

Contributing Factor's:
The people in the world are burning more fossil fuels than any time in the past, releasing more carbon-dioxide into the atmosphere. People are still destroying the forests which doesn't help keep greenhouse gasses low since plants, like trees, change carbon-dioxide into oxygen.

We need to plant more trees and plants since they take CO2 out of the atmosphere.
We also need to find better energy sources that don't put as much, if any, CO2 or other greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere.
While we are working at those we need the government's of nations around the world to put limits on how much fossil fuels we are allowed to burn.
Other than that, we can just hope, or pray if you are a religious person, that nature can heal itself.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007


Kids are sometimes late to their classes.

Every day I see some kids come in slightly after the bell in almost every class. Also, having too many tardies is the leading reason why kids are stuck in detention after school. My brother has told me that he has been late to some of his classes as well.

Contributing Factors
In Tartan the circle entrances are too narrow, which causes a huge slow-down at the entrances to the circles. Also, some kids have bad scheduals in which their classes take them from one end of the building to the other, plus the stop at the locker in between. The passing times also may be a little shorter than they should.

The best solution would be to lengthen the passing time by just a minute or two. Making the circle entrances wider would also help significantly.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Day 1

The problem is that the family isn't spending enough time together even though they want to. A cause of this would be that we all want to do different things. For example I enjoy playing board games. However my brother wants to watch a movie. Also my sister wants to play card games. Most of the time we just sit there trying to decide what to do that we use up all of our free time trying to decide. One way to solve this problem would be to just take turns. Another way would be to decide by playing a game of rock-paper-scissors. That way we could actually enjoy doing things together.