When I was in high school (some 30-years-ago) tests were well-written and easy to comprehend. They had the ability to actually and accurately assess a student’s knowledge of the subject or subjects on which they were given. Now, it seems like the sole mission of those who prepare tests is to sabotoge the student and doom them to failure!
Yesterday I was online checking out (and taking) some GED practice tests in order to see what my 17-year-old daughter was going to have to experience when she takes hers. I figured I’d start with my strong-suit, which is English. First off, I was appalled at the spelling and grammatical errors; but what really got me was how poorly each article was written. From run-on sentences, to college-level references and verbiage that caused one’s head to spin, the articles were incredibly hard to comprehend. My reading skills are excellent and I test out at upper college-level, but I found it extremely challenging to figure out the talking points of these articles.
I kept thinking, ‘Gosh, these tests are so different from what I did in high school!’ The standards have changed so radically that high school standards now are what used to be college standards 30-years-ago. I don’t think the human mind has changed that much, and since the drop-out rates per year in the U.S. are well over 6 million students, I think we can conclude that whatever the public school system is doing, it’s failing miserably.
Since my daughter has been home schooled, she didn’t have to jump through a lot of the academic hoops that many kids do. I took a very relaxed approach to her education and let her learn what she was interested in learning. I never looked at her as some container to be stuffed with useless information…I wanted her to have a joy about learning things. Since she was slightly dyslexic it also changed my approach. That, and the fact that she leaned far more in the direction of creativity versus academics, caused me to greatly alter how I educated her.
If she’d been in the “system” all those years, I’m sure she would have been held back several grades and received the message that she was stupid. Oh how wrong they would have been! She is a brilliant girl with a multitude of talents and a good head on her shoulders. She studies Japanese and has a gift for the language, is a self-taught Anime/Manga artist whose art is already selling, and has an incredible flair for doing business and is already learning how to market herself online. Her reasoning ability is off-the-charts scary, and she frequently opens my eyes to things to where I go, “Wow, how did you figure that out?”
I have to wonder if the standards that we are placing on kids is way beyond attainable. I think back to an episode of Little House on the Prairie, where Laurie Ingalls takes her teaching exam. It was a 2-page exam! Imagine that, in order to be a credentialed teacher in the 20th century you merely had to take a 2-page exam! Since the drop-out rate in this nation is well over 16%, maybe we should assess those standards and question whether they are correct or not.
Am I the only one who thinks that the standards are too high? I’d love to hear some opinions.