“This I Believe”

 

The Problem Within Our Education System

Standardized testing is a very sensitive topic within our education systems. There are many different views regarding standardized testing. There is certain evidence regarding other views that have been proven correct. Some say that standardized tests are very successful for they predict the future of graduating students. They often help parents get a feel on how much material their child is learning or absorbing in school. These views are valued within an education system and also have enriched my own views as well. However, that being said, I do believe with the evidence I have obtained throughout this research essay that standardized tests should not be required within classrooms. I believe that standardized tests do not accurately provide the knowledge of the students. Instead they cause problems and issues within the education system including narrowing the curriculum taught within the classroom, frustrate teachers, and ultimately drive students out of school.

Often times many students do not perform as well as they could on standardized tests because they have test anxiety. Therefore; standardized tests do not accurately provide the knowledge learned within classrooms. Standardized test tends to narrow the curriculum because teachers are instructed to only teach the material within the test itself. This is also why standardized tests frustrate teachers. Driving students out of school is yet another reason why standardized tests should not be required within the educational system. Often times students perform poorly on a test and do not meet the schools standardized testing score standard and are eventually driven out of the school district all together. I believe that standardized tests undermine school improvement rather that advancing its cause. Author of “Standardized Testing: Harmful to Educational Health” Noe J. Medina states, “Therefore, using standardized test scores as the primary criteria for making important educational decisions will lead to less public understanding of the schools and a weaker educational system” (2).

Standardized testing is one particular topic that I can relate to personally because I used to have really bad test anxiety. This lead to studying two weeks in advance for tests and making hundreds of flashcards. I would go to bed early and wake up even earlier just for a small snack. I would do everything and anything I could to prepare for the test. Once it came time to take the test, as soon as I would read the first question, I would blank. It wasn’t that I did not know the material, along with many other students across the world, it was that I suffered from test anxiety. I would stress so much over the upcoming test and learning the material that when it came time to show my teacher and school district all the information I learned, I blanked and failed the test. That is why I am researching why standardized test are negative and should not be required within the classroom. I do not believe that standardized tests truly show students true knowledge because many students like me do not perform their best due to anxiety.

One particular concept within standardized testing is called “Test Pollution”. This term is not really recognized throughout school districts but is a very important term. According to Raising Standardized Achievement Test Scores and the Origins of Test Score Pollution, “Test score pollution is a concept bases on the work of Messick (1984), refers to the factors affecting the truthfulness of a test score interpretation” (3). This author describes three main sources of test pollution: the way schools and its personnel prepare students for tests, the test administration activities or conditions, and the exogenous factors representing forces beyond the control of schools and school personnel.

One big question that I have about this topic is why standardized tests ultimately determine a student’s future? I do not believe that standardized tests accurately show a student’s true knowledge. With that being said, why are standardized tests the only factor that determines a student’s future career? Teachers and the education system believe that students who do not perform well on standardized tests will not succeed in life. I believe that this is false because these tests do not accurately show how much knowledge a student absorbs.

This is a very significant topic within the field of education because students everywhere are being told that they are not smart enough because of their low test scores. I have concluded that standardized tests truly do not determine the knowledge of students because children are suffering everywhere across the world from factors such as test anxiety, narrowed curriculum, and frustrated teachers. These factors are setting them up to fail. The sooner we acknowledge that there is a problem within the education systems, the sooner we can work together in strengthening the future for our students. Some connections I made between this topic is: how much a student prepares for the exam, if there are any positive aspects that come out of testing students, why educational systems hold children accountable to such a high testing standard, and all the effects of test anxiety. I’ve concluded that how much a student studies for an exam does correlate with how well that particular student scores; however, it doesn’t matter how much a student studies if they suffer from test anxiety.

What I know now about standardized testing is that they do indeed narrow the curriculum taught within the classroom, frustrate teachers, and ultimately drive students out of school. We see this in my research that teachers only teach to the test in order to receive a good grade for their schooling district. By only teaching to the test, teachers are therefore narrowing the curriculum. This can frustrate teachers because they are so caught up in teaching standardized test questions that they do not think about how they can become a great teacher. Standardized test drive students out of school because if students do not meet the certain testing requirement for these exams, they are kicked out of that school district. I have learned that at this point and time in the education systems, there is no way around standardized tests. I’ve concluded that all schools are required to give standardized tests to their students; however, that being said there are ways we can solve these problems. Teachers can start by expanding their curriculum by teaching more than the test itself. This will also help teachers so they do not seem so frustrated. As for the students who are struggling with standardized test, I believe teachers and the school districts should do everything and anything they possibly can to help that student succeed.

 

 

Bibliography

Haladyna, Thomas M. et al. “Raising Standardized Achievement Test Scores and the Origins of Test Score Pollution.” Educational Researcher, vol. 20, no. 5, 1991, pp. 2–7. www.jstor.org/stable/1176395.

 

Kuncel, Nathan R., and Sarah A. Hezlett. “Standardized Tests Predict Graduate Students’ Success.” Science, vol. 315, no. 5815, 2007, pp. 1080–1081. www.jstor.org/stable/20039045.

 

 

Neill, D. Monty, and Noe J. Medina. “Standardized Testing: Harmful to Educational Health.” The Phi Delta Kappan, vol. 70, no. 9, 1989, pp. 688–697. www.jstor.org/stable/20404001.

 

Shepard, Lorrie A., and Carribeth L. Bliem. “Parents’ Thinking about Standardized Tests and Performance Assessments.” Educational Researcher, vol. 24, no. 8, 1995, pp. 25–32. www.jstor.org/stable/1176891.

 

Final Summative: Field Post 6

My last and final visit to Hawken Lower School is one I will never forget. Today the students had rehearsal for their musical play. All the second graders gathered together in the chapel to meet with their music instructor to prepare their songs. I was surprised how well the second graders followed musical instructions. Every student was so eager to sing and dance; it was amazing to watch the whole production come together.

I then followed the class to their technology session with an instructor named Mrs. Jewell. I was amazed to find out that these students were reviewing technology coding. I never had that luxury to learn technology coding throughout my years of elementary school. When it came time to practice what they had learned from that day’s lesson, the students quietly got up, picked up an iPad, and then went to their seats to finish their practice work.

I am so fortunate that I have had the opportunity to observe alongside Ms. Ferek. A continuing theme that I have concluded throughout my time observing our three class trips and my own 10 hours of field observation is patience. Whether the teachers are teaching second graders or high school classrooms, they all seem to have patience with their students and their learning abilities. I believe patience is the most important thing a teacher can bring to his/her classroom. Teachers need to have patience in order to really help their students learn. Without patience, students tend to fall behind.

I have also gained many ideas throughout my time observing classrooms. One idea in particular is being a “laid-back” teacher. I witnessed firsthand the effects in a classroom of a “laid-back” teacher compared to the effects in a classroom of a “strict” teacher. I believe the “laid-back” teacher approach is more successful than the “strict” teacher. When you create a “laid-back” image, students are more willing to approach their teacher with a problem or question.

Overall, this experience has been very helpful and I am excited to take these new themes and ideas I have learned throughout my observations into my very own future classroom.

Field Post 5

My second and third visit to Hawken Lower School were both very enjoyable as well. During my second visit, the students were learning math. They were practicing measuring so Ms. Ferek placed a long piece of blue tape to the ground. She then asked her students to gather around and estimate just how long they thought this piece of tape was. Her students were eager to answer and loved that they had a visual to help them learn.

It wasn’t until my third visit, however, that I realized how much I admired Ms. Ferek’s teaching methods. When I came into visit that day, the students were gathered together listening to a man speak. Ms. Ferek explained to me that the man speaking was her father and he had come that day to give her students an experiment.

He explained how he wanted them to construct an experiment to determine whether washing your hands with soap or washing your hands with anti-bacterial gel kills more germs. Mr. Ferek asked the students how they thought they should construct this experiment. To my surprise, the students knew exactly what to do.

The students told Mr. Ferek that in order to construct this experiment they had to divide their class into two section: some would wash their hands with soap and the remaining class would wash their hands with anti-bacterial gel. Then the students explained that they would then have to observe to see which method would kill the most germs. I was amazed that a group of second grade students were able to construct this experiment.

I later talked to Ms. Ferek about how excited her students were to partake in this experiment. She explained to me that the students are required to take a standardized test for this section and she believes that if she does something fun beforehand (like an experiment), the students don’t dread the standardized test as much.

This reminded me about what Robert DiGiulio discusses throughout his writing. He expresses that great teaching is not about the tests. He also claims that standardized tests are the most useless (and harmful) pieces of data (DiGiulio, p. 125-126).

Although Ms. Ferek is required to give her students standardized tests, she does her best to do fun things like experiments beforehand to make the standardized tests less scary. I believe this is a great method to use within any classroom.

Field Post 4

For my field placement, I had the honor of observing Ms. Emma Ferek’s second grade classroom at Hawken Lower School. I was very excited to be observing a second grade classroom because that is around the age that I would like to teach.

On my very first day, I walked in and Ms. Ferek introduced me to the kids. She had me walk around the classroom and observe what the students were learning. The students were having free writing time. This meant that they could write about anything and everything. As I observed and read what the students were writing, I saw just how creative these young children were.

One little boy named Sasha was writing about his trip up north with his family over the past weekend. The detail used within his writing amazed me. For only being in the second grade, he accurately explained with descriptive detail what he saw during his time up north. He drew pictures and explained to me how this trip was his favorite vacation ever.

My first visit happened to be on a Friday afternoon and I could tell the students were very excited to get out of school for the weekend. The students could not concentrate so Ms. Ferek suggested that every student lay flat on the ground with their eyes closed while she played classical music. She expressed how everyone needed to take a minute to relax their body and mind. The lights were off and everyone was silent. This teaching method really amazed me because instead of yelling at her students, she calmed them down with classical music.

Ms. Ferek also explained to me how she does not like to yell at her students or send negative notes home. She claims that negativity does nothing for the child. She likes to instead take a moment to calm her students down.

This reminded me of our reading from Alexander-Tanner’s comic book. They talk about how one of the students believes he has a disorder because of the negative notes being sent home to his house. The teacher than says to the young child, “Well if I wrote you a note home it would say that you’re a brilliant artist, and that you’re hardworking, active, and sensitive,” (Ayers and Alexander-Tanner, p. 30).

I believe that Ms. Ferek displays Alexander-Tanners method and it works in her favor. Whenever her students get a little loud, she calmly asks them to lay on the ground and listen to her music until they are ready to learn again.

 

BP10 & Proposal

Over the time period of my course blog, I’ve realized multiple characteristics I would like to incorporate within my future classroom.

One major topic that really stuck out to me was standardized tests. I’ve come to believe that these tests do not show a child’s intelligence. Often times, students get test anxiety and do not perform well on the test itself. Standardized tests impacted me in such a way that I decided to base my whole research paper around it.

Yet another major characteristic that I discussed throughout the progress of my course blog was whether or not a ‘laid-back’ teacher approach worked within a classroom environment. I’ve come to observe that not only is this approach very effective, it also creates a very relaxed classroom environment where all students feel comfortable enough to be themselves.

I also discussed positive notes home throughout my course blog. I believe that parents should receive a note when their child is succeeding not just when they are doing poorly in a class.

I also discovered the type of teacher I would like to become. I plan to be gentile and kind but also very stern when I need to be. I want to become the type of teacher that students are not afraid to open up to.

An emergent theme that keeps popping up within my course blog is positivity within the classroom. I believe that a positive classroom is a happy one.

I believe that if I follow what I’ve preached about within my nine previous posts, I will become a very successful teacher.

Standardized testing is a very sensitive topic within education systems. Some believe that standardize tests are very successful for they predict the future of graduate students and often help parents get a feel on how much material their child is learning or absorbing in school. However, that being said, I believe that standardized tests should not be required within classrooms.

I believe that standardized tests do not accurately provide the knowledge of the students, they narrow the curriculum taught within the classroom, frustrate teachers, and ultimately drive students out of school.

Often times many students do not perform as well as they could on standardized tests because they have test anxiety. Therefore; standardized tests do not accurately provide the knowledge learned within classrooms.

Standardized test tend to narrow the curriculum because teachers are instructed to only teach the material within the test itself. This is also why standardized tests frustrate teachers.

Driving students out of school is yet another reason why standardized tests should not be required within the educational system. Often times students perform poorly on a test and do not meet the schools standardized testing score standard and are eventually driven out of the school district all together.

I believe that standardized tests undermine school improvement rather that advancing its cause.

Author of “Standardized Testing: Harmful to Educational Health” Noe J. Medina states, “Therefore, using standardized test scores as the primary criteria for making important educational decisions will lead to less public understanding of the schools and a weaker educational system” (2).

Standardized testing is one particular topic that I can relate to personally. I used to have really bad test anxiety. I remember studying two weeks in advance for tests and making hundreds of flashcards to study. I would go to bed early and wake up to eat breakfast. I would do everything and anything I could to prepare for the test.

Once it came time to take the test, as soon as I would read the first question, I would blank. It wasn’t that I did not know the material, it was because I, along with many other students across the world, suffer from test anxiety. I would stress so much over the upcoming test and learning the material that when it came time to show my teacher and school district all the information I learned, I blanked and failed the test.

That is why I am researching why standardized test are negative and should not be required within the classroom. I do not believe that standardized tests truly show students true knowledge because many students like me do not perform their best due to anxiety.

I plan to research why standardized tests do not accurately provide the knowledge of the students, why they narrow the curriculum taught within the classroom, frustrate teachers, and ultimately drive students out of school.

I believe I have some prior knowledge on the topic due to my test anxiety; however, I plan to further my knowledge by researching standardized tests.

Some connections I will make between this topic is: how much a student prepares for the exam, if there are any positive aspects that come out of testing students, why educational systems hold children accountable to such a high testing standard, and all the effects of test anxiety.

One “big” question that I do have about this topic is why standardized tests ultimately determine a students future. I do not believe that standardized tests accurately shows a students true knowledge. With that being said, why are standardized tests the only factor the determines a students future career. Teachers and the education system believe that students who do not perform well on standardized tests will not succeed in life. I believe that this is false because these tests do not accurately show how much knowledge a students absorbs.

I want to know why standardized tests are held at such a high standard within the educational system. Why do teachers depend so much on the scores of these tests? Do they really prove how much knowledge a student’s mind contains?

I believe this topic is important because students everywhere are told they do not know as much as their classmates because they do not perform as well as other students did. We need to determine whether or not standardized testing truly determines the knowledge of students because children are suffering everywhere across the world.

The sooner we acknowledge that this is problem within the education systems, the sooner we can work together in strengthening the future for our students.

BlogPost9 Annotated Bibliography

Kuncel, Nathan R., and Sarah A. Hezlett. “Standardized Tests Predict Graduate Students’ Success.” Science, vol. 315, no. 5815, 2007, pp. 1080–1081. www.jstor.org/stable/20039045.

This source highlights the concept that standardized tests predict the future of graduate students.  It discusses the structure of Admissions Tests and how they often times “assess a combination of verbal quantitative, writing, and analytical reasoning skills or discipline-specific knowledge” (1). Both authors discuss how standardized tests are very useful in the sense they provide teachers with a sense of the performance of their students. This source expresses the positive outcomes from standardized tests including professionalism, leadership, and administrative performance. The main point of this source is to provide examples on how standardized tests predict the future of graduate students. This source is very strong in the way it provides many examples supporting the view that standardized tests are very helpful to teachers in their classrooms. However, this source is weak because it does not discuss the negative effects of standardized tests. Overall, this source is very accessible and I plan to use it throughout my research paper because it provides me with many examples to back up my thesis statement.

 

Shepard, Lorrie A., and Carribeth L. Bliem. “Parents’ Thinking about Standardized Tests and Performance Assessments.” Educational Researcher, vol. 24, no. 8, 1995, pp. 25–32. www.jstor.org/stable/1176891.

This source summarizes how standardized tests often help parents get a feel on how much their child is learning in school. It highlights how many teachers decide to give students timed tests because parents expect it. Both authors discuss how some teachers even use standardized tests to defend grades to parents. The main point of this source is to provide more examples on why parents want standardized tests to be required throughout all schools. This source is very strong for it gives me many facts regarding why parents all over the country are urging teachers to incorporate more standardized tests within the curriculum. This source is weak, however, because it only shows the parents point of view verses also providing the child’s or teachers opinions. This is an accessible source and I plan to use it throughout my research paper to provide me with more facts referring to the many positive outcomes of standardized tests.

 

Haladyna, Thomas M. et al. “Raising Standardized Achievement Test Scores and the Origins of Test Score Pollution.” Educational Researcher, vol. 20, no. 5, 1991, pp. 2–7. www.jstor.org/stable/1176395.

This source discusses in depth the term ‘test score pollution’. “Test score pollution is a concept bases on the work of Messick (1984), refers to the factors affecting the truthfulness of a test score interpretation” (3). This author describes three main sources of test pollution: the way schools and its personnel prepare students for tests, the test administration activities or conditions, and the exogenous factors representing forces beyond the control of schools and school personnel. The main point of this article is to provide readers with the many different examples of test score pollution. This source is strong for it discusses test score pollution. This is a term that I do not believe many people are familiar with so it will provide me with a new angle throughout my research paper. However, this source is weak for it is only provides facts regarding test score pollution and does not give an opinion on whether or not standardized tests are a positive or negative. Overall, this source is very accessible and I plan to use it throughout my research paper to discuss the many factors within test score pollution.

 

Neill, D. Monty, and Noe J. Medina. “Standardized Testing: Harmful to Educational Health.” The Phi Delta Kappan, vol. 70, no. 9, 1989, pp. 688–697. www.jstor.org/stable/20404001.

This source highlights the negative aspects within standardized tests. Both authors discuss how standardized tests tend to narrow the curriculum, frustrate teachers, and drive students out of school. This source expresses that standardized tests undermine school improvement rather than advancing its cause. “Therefore, using standardized test scores as the primary criteria for making important educational decisions will lead to less public understanding of the schools and a weaker educational system” (2). The main point of this source is to provide many facts regarding why standardized tests weaken an educational system rather than strengthen it. This source is very strong for it provides me with facts about the negative effects of standardized tests; however, it is weak because it does not express any positive aspects. It is an accessible source and I plan to refer back to it often throughout my research paper to help develop my thesis.

BlogPost7

“What is greatness in teaching?”

Robert DiGiulio discusses throughout his writing that great teaching is not about the tests.

“A common form of data – students’ standardized test scores, now all the rage – provide little guidance for teachers, and are among the most useless (and harmful) pieces of data in terms of helping teachers and future teachers, to say nothing of useless in helping students actually be successful”, (DiGiulio, p. 125-126).

This particular idea is something I would like to recall on as I am planning lessons for my future students. Like DiGiulio, I also agree that standardized tests do not show the accurate representation of the knowledge of each student.

I know of many students who are very wise and often know the material within the standardized tests better than others yet still fail because they suffer from test anxiety. Many times students study the material for standardized tests and then forget everything as soon as they begin because they are just too nervous to fail.

This is why I believe that testing students is an inaccurate way for teachers to help students become successful in life.

For my future students, I am planning on working one-on-one in a comfortable setting so I get an accurate feel of what they know and don’t know. This way, students who suffer from test anxiety can show me what they know without being intimated by a standardized test.

I believe this method is accurate and will help the lives of my future students.

FieldPost3

Does the “laid-back teacher” approach actually work with high school students?

This question came across my mind as I entered Mr. Nitzsche’s 10th grade science class. As I entered the classroom, every student was quietly paying attention to Mr. Nitzsche as he instructed what they will be doing for the remainder of the class. Once he was finished, he let them loose.

As the students began working, I noticed they were very talkative and often I wondered if they were getting their work done. I also noticed that multiple students were out playing with their phones because Mr. Nitzsche allowed them in his classroom. With multiple concerns racing through my mind, I decided to walk around the room to see what these students were actually doing.

In my surprise, the students were actually staying on topic with their conversations. They were also looking up useful information relating to their work on the internet with their phones. This made me wonder is the “laid-back teacher” approach is what caused so much success within the classroom.

I decided to direct my attention to Mr. Nitzsche. He walked from table to table engaging with the students. He joked around with them and made sure they knew what they were doing. I believe that because of his “laid-back teacher” approach, students felt very comfortable with him and knew that he needed to be respected. They were allowed all these special privileges like phones and group conversations yet they did not abuse them. Every student considered Mr. Nitzsche as more of a friend and that is one interesting, yet very efficient approach, that I have towards teaching.

BlogPostIT

Throughout this weeks reading, there was a lot of talk regarding the banking concept. I came to conclusion that I agree and disagree with many of the following attributes and practices within this particular system.

One practice within the banking system reads: the teacher knows everything and the students know nothing. Although I agree that the teacher does know more than the student, I disagree with this statement because I believe that each student brings something to the table that the teacher can learn from. Also, every student knows something and everyone in the classroom can learn something new from them everyday.

Another practice that I do not particularly agree with reads: the teacher talks and the students listen. Again while I agree that the students should respect the teacher while they are talking, I also think that students learn from hearing from other students. I believe that all students should engage along with the teacher to bounce ideas off of other students. This is a great way for everyone to learn.

One practice I do agree with reads: the teacher disciplines and the students are disciplined. I believe that students should respect their teacher and in no way should a student discipline their teacher. All young students should respect their elders. That being said, a teacher should never over discipline their students in ways of harm.

I posted many notes on the attribute and practices within the banking system. I agree and disagree with many of these particular practices. However, all and all I believe that banking system is a great outline for all teachers to follow.