GLASSBORO – Teachers and administration alike are rethinking standardized testing due to the common idea that teachers are now “teaching to the test” and whether or not standardized testing can accurately assess every student’s achievements.
Since the No Child Left Behind Act, a law former President George W. Bush proposed only a few days after he took office in January 2001, the controversy of whether or not standardized testing is beneficial to students has been high on the priority list of teachers, students and parents alike.
Former President George W. Bush proposed the No Child Left Behind Act only a few days after he took office in January 2001. The law was eventually passed a year later. The passing of the No Child Left Behind Act meant that standardized tests were more important than they had ever been in the past. Schools were required to test students annually beginning in third grade and ending in eighth grade in order to evaluate their knowledge. These tests would contain a series of questions in the subject of both mathematics and reading. For example, a third grader may have to answer a question like:
Read the sentence:
i like to watch the cardinals fly back and forth.
Choose the correct way to write the sentence.
A) I like to watch the cardinals ﬂ y back and forth.
B) i like to watch the cardinals ﬂ y back and forth.
C) I like to watch the cardinals ﬂ y back and forth
D) i like to watch the Cardinals ﬂ y back and forth
The pattern below is missing a number.
2, 5, 8, 11, ____, 17
What number is missing in the pattern?
Schools who did not meet their state’s “adequate yearly progress” repeatedly would be subjected to outside corrective measures.
While these tests are required, not every teacher agrees that they are necessarily helpful to students. Cheryl Williams, 53, has been teaching mathematics for 23 years at the middle school and high school level and has been administering the SAT yearly. She has worked at school such as Oxford High School, Lighthouse Christian Academy, Bethany Christian School, and Solanco High School and is currently a substitute teacher. On the topic of standardized testing she feels that they aren’t for every student. “It is best to use classroom assessments,” said Williams, “not standardized testing.”
Experienced teachers aren’t the only ones concerned about whether or not standardized testing is for all students though. Education majors and future teachers have started to discuss whether or not standardized testing is actually beneficial to student or if it can accurately assess student’s achievements.
At Rowan University, education students have been discussing this in classes such as the characteristics of knowledge acquisition and human exceptionality. These classes explore the different ways students learn as well as different disabilities teachers may see in their classrooms.
Samantha Smith, 21, attends Rowan University and has taught students between the ages of five and 14 and is an individual counselor for children with special needs. Once a year her students take the New Jersey Assessment of Skills and Knowledge, or NJASK, in order to assess their knowledge. According to Smith, student get “really worked up about the tests, and it negatively impacts their mental health and social interactions.” Smith has also noticed that due to the different abilities and paces students learn at, their scores do not always reflect all students’ knowledge and learning abilities.
Students have also started to notice the effects standardized testing have had not only on themselves but on their teachers as well. Linette Reeman, an 18-year-old senior at Communications High School in Belmar, New Jersey, has been taking standardized tests yearly for most of her academic career. Reeman feels that while standardized test can be useful for administrators in order to compare themselves to other schools and districts, the tests themselves only hinder students’ knowledge being that they are seeing the tests as additional stressors rather than useful assessments and being that all students have different learning styles and/or methods, the tests cannot be a fair or accurate assessment for all students.
“I feel that in an effort to keep up with state and national expectations of what a student ‘should’ know,” said Reeman, “schools are giving greater amounts of standardized testing not curtailed to any curriculum, but instead to an idea of efficiency.” Reeman said that this may be the reason teachers feel they are forced to “teach to the test” which may eliminate the “knowledge-seeking” and “curiosity-stemming” aspects that have made learning enticing for students.
Although there have been some changes to the No Left Behind Act, it is still in effect today and students are still required to take standardized tests on a regular basis, David Coleman accounted that the College Board would be redesigning the SAT. These changes will be made in order to be more accommodating to students who are unable to afford expensive SAT tutoring or preparation and instead focus on real-world applications of subjects students are tested in the existing SAT. For example, the current SAT will have a question such as
Knowledge cannot thrive where there is .
The reformed SAT would ask a question such as
[. . .] The coming decades will likely see more intense clustering of jobs, innovation, and productivity in a smaller number of bigger cities and city-regions. Some regions could end up bloated beyond the capacity of their infrastructure, while others struggle, their promise stymied by inadequate human or other resources.
As used in line 55, “intense” most nearly means
This is just one of the many changes to the SAT that will take place starting in 2016. Changes will also be made to the mathematics, essay, science and social science portions of the test. Students will not be penalized for wrong answers and instead will earn points for every question they answer correctly.
Possible Alternatives to Standardized Testing
Rather than standardized test the students, students could instead put together portfolios of their work to be assessed. These portfolios could be done in a way that would seem fun to a student, for example they can decorate the portfolio or the process of making the portfolio can be turned into a party. This will take away the stress element of the assessments and will make students look back at work they have done in the past and see how they have improved which will encourage students.
Rather than having students take the standardized tests, classrooms could instead have an observer come in to see how students are doing in the classroom. This will not only assess students but the teachers as well.
Spread Out Tests
Rather than having test occur over the course of a few days, tests could occur over the course of a week and be separated into portions. For example on a test day, the students could have a pre-test activity, then the test with breaks throughout, post-test activity, then a normal class day. While these activities may not make students look forward to test days, the activities would relieve stress on students.
About two months ago I made a post about Liz Ditzel, the goalie for Rowan’s first woman’s ice hockey team. Since then, Liz has gone on to attract national attention within the woman’s hockey community by having the highest save average within the league. To learn a bit more about Ditzel and her history with hockey, I interviewed her as well as her coach, Thomas “Pops” Ryan.
People always think Disney is ruining young girls’ perception of life. They think that young girls wanting to be a princess is a bad thing.They believe that Cinderella is showing girls that they have to sit around and wait for a prince to save them from their horrible stepfamily and that Belle from Beauty and the Beast is teaching girls that they should stick in an abusive relationship. They think The Little Mermaid is teaching girls to alienate themselves from their whole family in order to chase after some boy and that Tangled is teaching girls that they have to have a man to protect them from the big bad world.
Personally, I don’t believe that any of these observations are true at all. I believe I’m afeminist. I see myself as being very liberal and open minded. I think everyone should have equal rights, regardless of gender, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. I also believe in children’s rights. I feel that if a little girl or even a little boy for that matter. wants to be treated as an independent, strong princess, so be it! People tend to forget that princesses were and still are very highly respected. People forget about princesses such as Elizabeth Tudor who became Queen Elizabeth I when she was only twenty-five years old. Let’s not also forget Marie Antoinette, a princess who latter became the Last Queen of France at the young age of fourteen.
Is it really such a horrible thing for young girls to want to be princesses then? Yeah, sure they want to wear pretty dresses and wear makeup, but even if they don’t watch Disney movies, they are still going to want to do these things. They see mommy wearing dresses and makeup and jewelery and they want to copy here. So should society really blame Disney for the fact that little girls want to be, well, little girls? It’s based on their personality, not because of subliminal messaging from Disney. Personally, I would rather have my daughter, or even son for that matter, watch a Disney movie rather than some of the shows that are targeted at children. Girls now are watching TV shows such as Victorious and Wizards of Waverly Place.
Those girls then idolize not the characters in the show, but the actresses themselves. Their idols switch from Cinderella and Rapunzel to Victoria Justice and Selena Gomez. I’ve seen twelve year old girls that wear tight, low cut skinny jeans and tiny shirts that show their midriffs. Again, I’m extremely liberal and all for individuality but when that means having a girl in elementary school dress like she’s in college, I feel like this is very unfortunate. Girls are growing up faster and faster and it’s not because of the Disney movies the majority of us grew up on, it’s because of the Disney and Nickelodeon shows they are watching now.
When I was younger, all I watched was Disney movies and I like to believe that I turned out fine. Each character taught me valueble lessons about society and life in general. Cinderella taught me that even though life may seem difficult, I just have to keep working hard and eventually it will get better. She showed me that sometimes, it’s okay to get help, whether it’s from mice or a fairy godmother. Belle showed me to try to find the good in people and that sometimes, first impressions don’t always show you who a person is. They might seem like a horrible beast, but they could really be a kind person deep down. Ariel taught me to be brave and do what I truly want to do with my life. I honestly feel that she gave me the strength to move half way around the country by myself in order to better my life. Yeah, I left my friends and family much like she did, but I am also in college now, making a better life for myself. Meanwhile the friends I had back home in Iowa are all either pregnant or have become drug addicts.
All of these characters were there for me when I least expected, and even sometimes without me knowing it. If it weren’t for these strong, independent women, I might not be the strong independent woman I am today. And no, I don’t believe that loving Disney Princesses has made me any less of a feminist, in fact, I think Disney Princesses are feminists.