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There are a lot of standardized tests for kids to take, but it's not always clear what the results of the tests actually mean. If society wants to create a huge population of adults who can memorize some facts or fill out circles with no.2 pencils, then we're doing a pretty good job of it. Here are a few links that question the usefulness of certain kinds of tests. By the way, StumbleUpon can recommend some good Techdirt articles, too.


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  1.  
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    fogbugzd (profile), Apr 24th, 2012 @ 5:42pm

    A lot of right-wingers were making a big deal about the need to emulate Finnish schools until they realized that the Finnish school system ran counter to just about every principle of right wing education. Teachers are well paid with no merit pay. Private schools are rare, but even private schools follow the state curriculum. Funding is basically equal and paid mostly by the central government.

    Oh, and schools don't compete in sports. They do have competitions in academics, but things like soccer and basketball are community based.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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    A Guy (profile), Apr 24th, 2012 @ 5:54pm

    Re:

    High pay for teachers is the only one of those things that would really make a difference. However, increasing the pay of the current crop wouldn't result in better schools for many years.

    People expect teachers to make little money. Therefore, there will be little competition for those jobs. Laying off teachers now will increase competition, but it won't help because the talent pool was decided back when the potential teachers chose their educational goals.

    It will probably take 10-20 years after a significant pay increase (2x to 3x) to get the best possible teaching candidates in the classrooms. I won't hold my breath.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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    Atkray (profile), Apr 24th, 2012 @ 8:51pm

    "This push on tests ... is missing out on some serious parts of what it means to be a successful human."

    Reminds me of an analysis of a software program I once heard,

    "Whoever wrote this was a great programmer but failed at being a human being"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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    Watchit (profile), Apr 24th, 2012 @ 11:27pm

    FCAT sucks

    I had to take the Florida FCAT... man was that a joke. I remember one article in the "science" section that insisted that arachnids were bugs that had "six legs and an exoskeleton" :P

    The FCAT was modeled after the Texas TCAT, which Texas realized was awful and went back to national standardized tests. But for some reason it was just fine for Florida? Not to mention the fact that Florida keeps lowering the bar on the science and math sections so more students can "pass".

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 24th, 2012 @ 11:29pm

    What's fascinating about the Finnish schools is two things: less work, fewer tests, highly educated and highly paid teachers--but also a welfare state that works well, keeps kids out of poverty and thereby reduces stress. The magical idea that stressing teachers out and paying them shit while setting a bunch of knowledge standards instead of learning standards is taking hold on the left in the US and it's a shame. We need to reinvest in our schools and our nation's infrastructure in concrete ways and with (gasp) tax money, so that our students get a great education, not the education offered by the lowest bidder.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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    Watchit (profile), Apr 24th, 2012 @ 11:31pm

    Re: Re:

    actually the no school funded sports also might've made a difference. Instead of spending so much on school sports, they're spending it on academics and teachers.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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    abc gum, Apr 25th, 2012 @ 4:59am

    Re:

    "The magical idea that stressing teachers out and paying them shit while setting a bunch of knowledge standards instead of learning standards is taking hold on the left in the US and it's a shame."

    Left?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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    :), Apr 25th, 2012 @ 5:29pm

    Happy 4/25

    HAPPY ALICE DAY to any fellow GLs who may be here! :)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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    Michael Ho (profile), Apr 26th, 2012 @ 12:51am

    Re: Lessons...

    The takeaways from the Finnish system don't seem that clear. Finland has a completely different set of demographics than the US, so what works in Finland might not work in other countries.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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    Watchit (profile), Apr 26th, 2012 @ 6:44pm

    Re: Happy 4/25

    You are sick >:[

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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    lrobbo (profile), Jun 12th, 2012 @ 11:00am

    Tests in a highly testing culture. My circling skills and control of a HB pencil are something to marvel at.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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