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.