Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Standard tests

During the 09-10 school year my job was to tutor high schoolers to help them pass their state graduate exam. If they do not pass this exam they do not graduate.

These standard exams have been a source of controversy since they started especially in the reading comprehension category. A few years back many were saying that they favored white people then it was since they were only in English they discriminated against Latinos, teachers are lambasted for only teaching to the the test – on and on.

Since this was my job to help these kids I have read a lot of these short stories, poems and essays. Most of them are banal. The latest controversy is that they favor Islam and put down Christianity.

‘The most troubling passage came from Daniel Roselle's "A World History: A Cultural Approach," observers said. The passage reads: "Wherever they went, the Moslems [sic] brought with them their love of art, beauty and learning. From about the eighth to the eleventh century, their culture was superior in many ways to that of western Christendom."
Meanwhile, an excerpt listing the common procedures used by Christian friars to introduce the religion in Latin America stated that "idols, temples and other material evidences of paganism [were] destroyed," and "Christian buildings [were] often constructed on sites of destroyed native temples" -- and built with free Indian labor, to boot. ‘

Keep in mind that within one hour after taking these tests the kids cannot remember what was in them.

The thing that jumped out at me in this is that the reporter did not mention that the best of the Muslim culture Roselle could come up with happened 1000 years ago and the worst thing the Christians did happened 500 years ago.

As mentioned earlier, students have to pass this test to graduate - well that is only partially true. Any student who has been diagnosed with ANY TYPE of learning disability at any time in their school life does not have to pass so they just do not give a crap.

And that attitude is growing throughout the whole of the public school student body and these tests now discriminate against them. Fortunately the Media is now picking up on this.

In The Know: Are Tests Biased Against Students Who Don't Give A Shit?

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