Testing time

Discussion in 'Education' started by LafayetteBis, Jun 29, 2019.

  1. LafayetteBis

    LafayetteBis Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    From the Economist: What budget cuts during the Great Recession did to pupils’ test scores (2007/2009)
    - excerpt:
    Excuse me for saying it, but state-management has to be dumb, dumb, dumb to reduce what is formally an "investment in human capacity and character".

    There are two public services that need governmental supervision for them to be aptly functional - Education and Healthcare. As regards the former, the fact that the world is evolving from the Industrial Age into the Information Age, no time in history has been as important as today's.

    And, when one looks at the lonnnngggg history of secondary-schooling in America, one is forced to wonder why we, as a people, have not understood the Intrinsic Importance of schooling. - from Kindergarten straight through to Tertiary Education!

    Nothing more impacts our standard of living than education - which was proven by the historical fact that the Industrial Age pulled people off the land and into city industries. Thereby enhancing their income and thus standard-of-living. But, that evolution took a good long time to be effected across the nation - from the mid-19th century for another 80/90 years!

    That very same waste-of-time could happen once again, if we do not make the necessary investments nationally*! And, given the manner in which the world is getting generally smarter, the sooner we do so the better off as a nation we will be ... !

    *For instance, we take that humongous amount of the Discretionary Budget (almost half the total!) spent on the DoD (see here), and put at least half of it into (1) improving secondary-schooling and (2) making Tertiary-level Education the same as Secondary Schooling. That is, nearly free, gratis or for nothing depending upon financial circumstance!
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2019
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  2. tkolter

    tkolter Well-Known Member

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    I agree however I have a few concerns.

    1. Why can't we teach career prep skills in High School most other peer nations do Germany even has apprenticeships built around this model and in many careers where here you would need a college degree or some added education like banking services or machinist. Since this is free already and we used to have trades and employment out of high school planned we should look to do this again tracking students.

    2. What majors will be funded although someone going or any STEM degree especially of applied to a career is a good thing I don't want to have the government pay for theater arts majors, fine arts majors, gender studies or philosophy as a major or other programs or if they do have quotas disfavoring the latter unless it leads to good jobs.

    3. Cost controls we need strict adjustments and limits on tuition paid for so schools don't think of these as blank checks.

    4. Students should have to pay something maybe not the full amount but they and their family could pay twenty percent.

    5. Books and fees also need to be cost controlled how much can mathematics change to demand new books not to mention other subjects.

    6. Freedom of Speech and a lack of indoctrination needs to be demanded students are there to study to be productive in the workforce and secondarily to be scholars in general and political action and such isn't going to be something employers largely want this includes hate speech and unpleasant speech being allowed.
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2019
  3. LafayetteBis

    LafayetteBis Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    THE INFORMATION AGE

    Yes, there have to be cost-controls, particularly on state-provided post-secondary level institutions of higher-learning. Just the threat of a cost-control is enough, if it gets around that other institutions were indeed controlled.

    But, the important point is that education at a state-school of higher-learning be AVAILABLE at very low cost for those who can justify a family low-income. And particularly any family living below the Poverty Threshold ($24K per year for a family of four) as updated annually by the US Census Bureau. (Which is today estimated at 14% of the population or 45.5 million American men, women and children. Yes, that is equivalent to the combined populations of California and South Carolina!)

    Finally, at present the HUMONGOUS debt of postsecondary education is hitting the headlines. It's been known for decades, but apparently nobody even cared.

    And until we Americans "care" about the requirement for advanced schooling (at the postsecondary level) to be available at very low cost, then we as a nation will continue to leave about 55% of our kids behind. (Apparently we "care" most about defending the nation against foreign attack - because almost half of the National Discretionary Budget goes to the DoD!)

    Which means also that only 45% of high-school graduates in America go on to complete a higher degree qualification that is increasingly imperative in this Brave New World of the Information Age ...
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2019
  4. perdidochas

    perdidochas Well-Known Member

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    1. It's a matter of what people want. The problem is that we, as a society, want everybody to go to college (even if they shouldn't). I once taught at a health sciences magnet school as a science teacher. As part of this, I was on a curriculum committee, to decide what courses we should require the students to take as part of our program. The teachers developed a great comprehensive course schedule. The problem was that the parents on the committee vetoed it. They wanted kids to be able to go into the college track of this program as late as their junior year. There was no way to do this, and keep our curriculum. So we watered it down for them.

    2. If the overall degree program is robust (i.e. requiring those theater majors to take a comprehensive program of classes), the specific degrees don't matter. I, and I'm sure many other college educated people, are working at jobs that didn't even exist when we were in college. Despite not being specific to the new field though, what we learned in college in terms of research, writing, logic, critical thinking, was good enough so that we could pick up a new field.

    3. True

    4. Exactly. That was pretty much how college was when I got my B.S. My university tuition was about $1000 a semester. That was affordable even then. That's the equivalent of about $2250 today, which if reasonable. That same college now costs about $5200 a semester.

    http://www.in2013dollars.com/us/inflation/1987?amount=1000
     
  5. perdidochas

    perdidochas Well-Known Member

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    5. Colleges are doing this on their own. Some colleges now use "open source" textbooks at least for freshman level classes, which are free online.

    6. Not sure your point on this one.
     
  6. LafayetteBis

    LafayetteBis Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    It is understandable that parents should want their children to progress as far as possible in their schooling. But, as the saying goes for good reason: "Too many cooks spoil the broth."

    It is also ridiculous that parents should have any say whatsoever over the curriculum! That should be handled by professionals with also the input of child psychologists trained to assist in best directing the children in the types of courses they should pursue. We are not all geniuses, thankfully. But parents should not be messing about with a key component of secondary-schooling without professional assistance.

    PS: Homeschooling is ridiculous, and there should be a standard (set Federally) for Primary and Secondary schooling. It would also help that teachers get a damn good salary because what they do impacts the lives of the children taught more than any other efforts.

    PS: It is also evident that if only 45% of high-schoolers are graduating into Post-secondary Schooling then we have a National Task to improve that percentage!
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2019
  7. Kode

    Kode Well-Known Member

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    They did when I was in high school 58 years ago.

    Agreed. I'm unclear on when trades ("shop classes") were dropped. Were they? If so, do you know when? (I don't have any kids so I'm out of touch on such things.)

    2. What majors will be funded although someone going or any STEM degree especially of applied to a career is a good thing I don't want to have the government pay for theater arts majors, fine arts majors, gender studies or philosophy as a major or other programs or if they do have quotas disfavoring the latter unless it leads to good jobs. [/QUOTE]
    Culture is important for quality of life too.

    There are always such guidelines and limitations.

    That depends which students you're referring to..... high school or college? But since education is a "public good" and has huge national implications, all education should have some serious control at the federal level, or even strict enough regulations that no school can price itself only for the richest.

    I don't know that it is possible to exclude all of what could be called "indoctrination". Political knowledge and clarity are essential if we are to have a well-functioning representative democracy. Today's horrible level of such is threatening it.
     
  8. perdidochas

    perdidochas Well-Known Member

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    It varied school district by school district. The high school I went to and graduated from in 1983 (36 years ago) had a strong vocational system and a strong college prep system, and a weak general ed for those in neither of the above. When I taught high school starting in 1992 (different school system in a different state), vocational ed was almost dead there, and had been for several years. In the system I worked at, the teachers said that the school district had made an agreement with the local trade school to stop teaching vocational skills. Anyway, at least to me, it seems somewhere in the 1980s and 1990s, vocational education lost a lot in the high schools.
     
  9. Kode

    Kode Well-Known Member

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    Well there's no doubt or question in my mind that vocational courses are proper, beneficial, and are needed.
     
  10. LafayetteBis

    LafayetteBis Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    According to the NCES, only about 45% of high-schoolers go on to any professional training. Which is why they have been left behind in this onset of the Information Age. How do you handle "information" if you have no training on the subject in an Internet environment.

    From Vox CPR here: The changing nature of work - excerpt:
    Don't expect Donald Dork & Company to be the least bit concerned with the above. (And the above denotes significantly the need for both High-School and Post-secondary Schooling to have the right programs for the right calibre of student - and all at a decent cost.

    Which means, given the level of parental income, the subsidies to obtain the right post-secondary diploma should be offered by the Federal Government.

    As for the primary- and secondary-levels of education, that remains the responsibility of communities - but these efforts must be funded where necessary by Federal grants ...

    I don't want to be alarmistic but - believe me - the Information Age that is upon us (thank you, Internet!) is changing fundamentally the way we learn and work. (Which means ultimately how well we live.)

    We must not stand idly by whilst that is happening. And for the future of the country, the way both us and our children learn and what we learn are ONE HELLUVA LOT MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE DEFENCE DEPARTMENT! Where half of the Federal Discretionary Budget is being spent today ... !

    PS: Here's some factual evidence. The Bureau of Labor Statistics puts the percentage of the national workforce in the production of goods at barely 12%! For that breakdown, see the BLS historical infochart here: Employment by Industry, 1910 & 2015

     
  11. LafayetteBis

    LafayetteBis Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    They "high-school you went to" should not be any different from the high-school ANYBODY goes to in America.

    And if we don't get this out of the hands of state-budgets, then it remains a hodge-podge with some states are better able to pay better than other states.

    May I suggest that education and healthcare are BASIC GOVERNMENT-PROVIDED SERVICES in Europe - which is the way it should be.

    And it would be a damn fine idea if state-schools were also assisted in the majority by Federal-funding - instead of the huge wastage made in the DoD!.

    Let the states do the hard-work, and the Feds only have oversight responsibility for the results (graduating-test scores). That is, when it becomes obvious from the testing that a state is not "up to standard" for some reason. It could also provide financing in those states that don't have the means due to low population size to have the necessary resources.
     
  12. perdidochas

    perdidochas Well-Known Member

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    Your response is not related to what I had posted. Start a new thread to rant about how much better Europe is than the U.S. on how they fund education.
     
  13. LafayetteBis

    LafayetteBis Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    You need a good lesson in the English language ...
     
  14. Adfundum

    Adfundum Greeter Staff Member Donor

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    Testing--
    The article indicates that reduction of teachers and increase in class size is responsible for lower test scores. I agree with that, but like most other things, it's not the whole story.

    One big problem I've had as a teacher is the attempt to force a one-size-fits-all education on the nation. Every student is different, and every teacher is different. Collecting data on how one teacher is successful and comparing that to another teacher who does things quite differently just won't work--therefore, the need to impose uniformity on teaching and subject matter.

    That's led to some issues with administration because the software they use for teacher observations is very limited, and those "best practices" they look for in an observation may not be the teacher's preferred method. Not only is every teacher's personality different, but every class of students has it's own personality. What works well in one class may not work at all in another class. But in order to collect the data, uniformity must be imposed.

    I spent my last few years teaching at a school in a high poverty area. Anyone who equates that environment with middle and upper income environments has never had the experience. The entire culture is different, and what works in the other income levels doesn't work for students in the lower income levels. School districts don't like to spend the extra money on a larger teaching staff, and that's where the problems start in those schools.

    Yes, budget cuts resulting in fewer teachers can have an effect on test performance, but at the same time, testing is little more than data collection in support of administration. It really doesn't tell us much about achievement.
     
  15. LafayetteBis

    LafayetteBis Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    First, I want to congratulate you on having pursued a highly underrated profession. There is simply no excuse for not educating adequately our youth. And the reasons are the same as initially. That is, future of our country as a good-place-to-live but also a fair-place-to-live depend upon a high standard of quality education.

    That can only be observed by an adequate means of testing, which assures that the children are learning. And that objective is far, far more easily said than done or achieved.

    Learning/education permitting one the ability to analyze and think are key attributes to any human being. And, as a nation, all we are is a "collection of human-beings".

    For better or for worse ... but either of those outcomes depends upon us!

    That is, those who want a solidly good-education for their children and will not abide anything less.

    So, let's put "our money" where our our mental-capacities are developed - in schools with adequate schooling by competent teachers ...
     
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  16. Adfundum

    Adfundum Greeter Staff Member Donor

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    I'm on board with you. However, I firmly believe that standardized instruction and testing are the antithesis of good critical thinking skills. Years ago, were were encouraged to use Socratic Seminars whenever possible. I loved those. Then education became a "data zombie" and I was told to stop wasting time on such stuff because it has nothing to do with tests. I was also told to stop teaching grammar, stop using essay testing, and stop teaching basic logic--all for the same reason. I was even told to stop making kids read for more than 10 minutes because reading passages on the test were less than 10 minutes long. Being a competent teacher got stomped on by the zombies.

    Our judgment of quality teachers must go beyond a simple reliance on testing. Allow teachers to teach.
     
  17. LafayetteBis

    LafayetteBis Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    I don't want exactly to blame teachers for the failures of their students. But, how does one explain the seemingly reduced level of SAT-scoring in America?

    See here:
    [​IMG]
    Consider one element, the Verbal Score. It has descended since first noted in 1964 (540) to a level of 500 in 1980 where it stabilized until 2005 when it started descending even further. Ditto the math scoring that is also downward.

    And that descent has not the least bit leveled to a constant achievement.

    What's happening? Because, frankly, it is apparent from the above that our students are more and more stoopid ....

    PS: As for Math Skills, they are no longer even being tested?
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2019
  18. LafayetteBis

    LafayetteBis Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    GETTING EDUCATION RIGHT

    Education is a fundamental freedom. Nobody should take that away from us. If one fails, that's their obligation to try harder - or lower their education-perspectives. But, they should not have TUITION-COST as the first-and-most-difficult hurdle to overcome.

    Thus because postsecondary education is also a necessary attribute to earning a good-living, it should be free, gratis and for nothing for all. As it is in state-funded primary and secondary schooling!

    We've just not got around to making it free in tertiary-level education. As has the European Union now for more than half a century. 'Singular exception, the UK.)

    Hillary and Bernie had got it Very Right. Post-secondary education should be as easy to enter as is high-school today. Whether people succeed or not is often a matter of social condition and not necessarily "intelligence". Besides, one could always "fail" college/university but pursue a formation in one of the trades. (Any document showing training or learning will advance one's prospects for obtaining a decent job.)

    The average cost of a state-school annual fee for a tertiary-education in the US is $14K per year. Meaning that if you are under the Poverty Threshold ($25K annual income) and want-out, getting a post-secondary degree is Mission Impossible. (Which is what Bernie and Hillary had as an objective. Hillary's proposal looked was described by her office here.

    It's key elements would bring in students who would otherwise never ever go to even a community-college (which are very low cost institutions). It's key condition was that any family earning less than $125K a year was eligible. Which means two parents each earning an average less than that amount, or around $62.5K a year.

    The Poverty Threshold in the US is $25K a year for a family of four. So, these families and a good many above that threshold-sum would be able to send their kids to school without worrying about having enough money for rent and food.

    But no - that amazing idiocy of a manipulated Electoral College vote gave us the Donald Dork the presidency. And we've not heard one word from him about educating the poor out of poverty.

    Why should he care anyway ... ?
     
  19. perdidochas

    perdidochas Well-Known Member

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    If we gave away college for free, the students would appreciate it as little as they appreciate high school. Yes, there are some that appreciate it, but most could care less.
     
  20. Adfundum

    Adfundum Greeter Staff Member Donor

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    I think at least part of what we see in the chart comes from changes in the test. The verbal has a 1941, 1995, and current scale. I'm not familiar with the old tests, but I do know that there have been so many changes over the years that the chart is really not going to tell us much.

    Another thing that gets constantly overlooked is the social dimension. No one likes to talk about it, but the home environment plays a huge role in a student's achievement. Students who come from higher socio-economic environments do better than those of the lower environments. Then we have the technology angle. Calculators are standard issue along with #2 pencils when testing, and students have developed a unique dialect by using phones. And to be quite honest, being separated from phones has a pretty negative effect on attention spans. A lot of people don't realize that the use of phones in class is epidemic, and in most cases teachers have limited authority to make students put them away. It's kind of like this:
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2019
  21. Adfundum

    Adfundum Greeter Staff Member Donor

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    I've actually seen this with a program we have to allow seniors to take classes at the local community college. One of my students came back and told me that she was furious because her prof. asked her to leave the room. When I asked why, she said she was just showing her friend what someone had posted on Snapchat. I asked the Prof about it a while after that and he said she didn't pay attention and was a constant disruption.

    In my opinion, there must be some kind of accountability.
     
  22. tkolter

    tkolter Well-Known Member

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    But why college what about certifications, trade school diplomas, apprenticeships, free night schools offering continuous education credits one can store on file showing skills learned, better armed forces training once one is in an armed service to get useful skills akin to the choices before mentioned and teaching skills for employment in High School. I would add a year and have three years of skills gaining and certifications from professional organizations and unions and make a High School Diploma in technical education mean something. Why just COLLEGE? In my mind we need to revamp the entire approach and system of education to be from entry to adulthood with education free until one nears retirement age

    And if the government is paying they need cost controls, limit what can be majored in and minored in on the government dime (a second minor could be by choice) and eliminate textbooks going digital books only and keep those costs down how much can Mathematics and common subjects like Philosophy change to require new texts every few years?
     
  23. LafayetteBis

    LafayetteBis Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    RICH, RICH, RICH

    Laxity is part&parcel of the American way-of-life. We won a couple of world-wars and thought the rest of the world should look like Uncle Sam. Wrong!

    As I never ever tire of saying, Uncle Sam has one of the worst distributions of income of any modern economy. (See that factual evidence here.) And the reason is very largely due to one person - Reckless Ronnie - who in the 1980s reduced upper-income taxation for his friends who gave heartily to reelect him*. (See the factual evidence of that claim here.)

    *You are living in a so-called "democracy" that is largely "bought" by BigBusiness Interests the purpose of which is to keep Federal upper-income rates LOW, LOW, LOW so that they can become RICH, RICH, RICH!
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2019
  24. LafayetteBis

    LafayetteBis Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    Why college? Well it depends upon what you mean by "college". What I mean is a certified degree in a discipline from a recognized teaching facility. If military service can do that, so much the better. Like driving a truck that, once your service is done, you can find a job driving a truck. But such "learning" is at the vocational-level of the educational cycle.

    Now, believe me, some people have natural talents that vocational-schooling can "hone" (sharpen). Great cooks or great dress-designers are such people. But, I doubt most of our kids of today are of that "natural capacity". They need a decent education, and decency in this regard means a Tertiary-level degree.

    What you have in the UK is an EXPENSIVE TERTIARY-DEGREE PROGRAM - perhaps the most expensive of any country in Europe. And of course, you (plural) are about to complete a set of wrong steps by moving out the market for nearly 40% of your exports.

    If Ignorance Were Bliss, you-plural should be a happy people in the UK. We'll see how that works out over the next five-years. By which time you'll be knocking at the doors of the EU for entry once again**. (And if you think US-trade is going to save your collective sorry-arsses, then think again. The BigSurge in US-GDP these past 5-years is over*.)

    Some people must learn the hard-way because they are a nation of hard-heads ...

    *And if Donald Dork is reelected the US likely will hit the pits of unemployment before anyone awakens to its long-term employment problem. That is, employment in general may be failing but only because far too many do not have a tertiary-level degree due to the fact that it is too effing-expensive!

    **Unless of course there is a a magical last-minute revelation to the country as a whole of how wrong Brexit is to do. Which I doubt seriously will happen. British-pride working at its best to walk merrily off an economic-cliff.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2019

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