Monday, April 16, 2007

What exactly is the State of Texas accomplishing with the TAKS test? Nothing but encouraging the programming of students instead of teaching

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TAKS… what a joke!

So, every student in grades 3-11 in the great State of Texas is required to take the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS henceforth). Sounds great at first, a test that if you fail it, you can’t graduate therefore making sure you learn stuff, right? WRONG! Now, instead of learning a curriculum, you spend the year preparing for TAKS unless you’re in higher level classes. So essentially, the students not in Advanced Placement (AP henceforth) or Dual-Credit college classes (DC henceforth) are being programmed for one thing, that thing being TAKS. Schools are rated on their students’ performance on TAKS. Districts that fail, can be dissolved.

What exactly is the State of Texas accomplishing with the TAKS test? Nothing but encouraging the programming of students instead of teaching. So some students don’t care about school, fine let them be left behind. Instead of helping education, “No child left behind” is crippling it more than helping. Some schools to get their students to actually want to pass are essentially bribing their students. For example, Waxahachie High School is offering an off period to Sophomores who pass all sections of the TAKS (English Language Arts [ELA henceforth], Math, Science, History). Then to both Sophomores and Juniors who pass all sections, four free 100 test grades in each class. And if that wasn’t enough if a student passes all sections of the TAKS and is placed in In-school suspension (ISS henceforth) one time, that ISS doesn’t keep them from being ineligible for exemptions of final exams. Back to the free 100 test grades. What this does in Pre-AP, AP, and DC classes is slash the range of grades. The students with A’s are barely helped at all, while students with low C’s are pushed up to high B’s. The TAKS test is the culprit! I say abolish the TAKS test! Abolish it! Standardized tests required to graduate are NOT the way to test whether students have actually been taught. It’s turned Texas education into programming instead of actual teaching! It should be stopped! Oh and on top of all that, the grading procedure for the short answer section of the ELA can pass or fail you. They say they reward insight and good analysis, but the masters of analysis, AP students, tend to do the WORST on that particular section. What happens if you are deathly ill on test day? Ha! You are either placed into TAKS remediation classes the next year OR you have to take it again during the summer. TAKS FAILS! The very ESSENCE of the TAKS test is a pile of horrible rubbish. The only section that is even competent is the math section because you can’t botch up answers on that, it’s either right or it’s left, I mean wrong. On other sections such as Science they’ll have questions where the answer CAN’T be one of the answers given, or two of the answers are so similar that you have essentially a 50/50 chance of getting it right even if you know science like the back of your hand. And then there are the questions on almost all sections that the answers are essentially given in the question. Some students still miss those. State of Texas, your TAKS test is FAIL to the nth power!

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