Further, most of the tests being used consist primarily or solely of multiple-choice items, which are cheaper to develop, administer, and score than are tests that include constructed responses such as essays.
But many of the courses still focus on the AP exam, and that focus can be as detrimental to learning as the kinds of tests imposed under No Child Left Behind.
You should have a further selfish motivation. The College Creative writing rubric for 4th grade did recognize that not everything being labeled as AP met the standards of a college-level course, so it required teachers to submit syllabi for approval to ensure a minimal degree of rigor, at least on paper.
In high-need schools, resources not directly related to testing are eliminated: If a student hits the points on the rubric, he or she gets the points for that rubric. They may be very bright. If strictures like these can be imposed on schools and colleges of education, the time will be short before similar kinds of measure are imposed on other schools, including liberal arts, engineering, business, and conceivably even professional schools like medicine and law.
Some critical thinking may be involved, at least, but the approach works against development of the kinds of writing that would be expected in a true college-level course in government and politics.
I would like to believe that I prepared them to think more critically and to present cogent arguments, but I could not simultaneously prepare them to do well on that portion of the test and teach them to write in a fashion that would properly serve them at higher levels of education.
From what I saw from the free response questions I read, too many students in AP courses were not getting depth in their learning and lacked both the content knowledge and the ability to use what content knowledge they had.
Even the most distinguished and honored among us have trouble getting our voices heard in the discussion about educational policy. By Kenneth Bernstein You are a college professor.
For much of the content I would give students summary information, sufficient to answer multiple-choice questions and to get some of the points on rubrics for the free response questions. Now you are seeing the results in the students arriving at your institutions.
Many of us tried. The structure of testing has led to students arriving at our school without what previously would have been considered requisite background knowledge in social studies, but the problem is not limited to this field.
Thus, students arriving in our high school lacked experience and knowledge about how to do the kinds of writing that are expected at higher levels of education.
I blogged, I wrote letters and op-eds for newspapers, and I spent a great deal of time speaking with and lobbying those in a position to influence policy, up to and including sitting members of the US House of Representatives and Senate and relevant members of their staffs.
There is no consideration of grammar or rhetoric, nor is credit given or a score reduced based on the format of the answer. I listened to a group of disingenuous people whose own self-interests guide their policies rather than the interests of children. I had too many students. While it is true that the US Department of Education is now issuing waivers on some of the provisions of the law to certain states, those states must agree to other provisions that will have as deleterious an effect on real student learning as did No Child Left Behind—we have already seen that in public schools, most notably in high schools.
Please do not blame those of us in public schools for how unprepared for higher education the students arriving at your institutions are. We entered teaching because we wanted to make a difference in the lives of the students who passed through our classrooms. It is for this that I apologize, even as I know in my heart that there was little more I could have done.
With test scores serving as the primary if not the sole measure of student performance and, increasingly, teacher evaluation, anything not being tested was given short shrift. I have some bad news for you. Kenneth Bernstein is a retired, award-winning social studies teacher who lives near Washington, DC.
In case you do not already see what is happening, I want to warn you of what to expect from the students who will be arriving in your classroom, even if you teach in a highly selective institution.
Troubling Assessments My primary course as a teacher was government, and for the last seven years that included three or four out of six sections of Advanced Placement AP US Government and Politics.
Where do I begin? Imagine that I assign all my students a written exercise. Students often do not get exposure to art or music or other nontested subjects. A teacher cannot possibly give that many students the individualized attention they need to improve their writing.
My students, mostly tenth-graders, were quite bright, but already I was seeing the impact of federal education policy on their learning and skills. Recognizing this, those of us in public schools do what we can to work on those higher-order skills, but we are limited.
I have just retired as a high school teacher. Even when a state has tests that include writing, the level of writing required for such tests often does not demand that higher-level thinking be demonstrated, nor does it require proper grammar, usage, syntax, and structure.
Thus, a teacher might prepare the student to answer those questions in a format that is not good writing by any standard. Many of us are leaving sooner than we had planned because the policies already in effect and those now being implemented mean that we are increasingly restricted in how and what we teach.
Remember, high schools also have tests—No Child Left Behind and its progeny such as Race to the Top require testing at least once in high school in reading and math. If you, as a higher education professional, are concerned about the quality of students arriving at your institution, you have a responsibility to step up and speak out.
Today I have listened to people who are not teachers, have never worked in a classroom, and have never taught a single student tell me how to teach. I mentioned that at least half my students were in AP classes.Jun 11, · Reading Comprehension Test 2nd Grade: Free Online PDF second grade reading test Using 2nd Grade Standardized Test to practice helps to raise reading test scores!
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