Let's engage in a formal test on "literacy" and "learning"--especially since formalized testing is so prized. Get out your Number Two pencils and ... oh, that's right I forgot: the texting thumb has made pencils as passe as the typewriter and the rotary phone. Well then, tweet your interactive "comments" as to the correct answers for the following formalized questions:
"Literacy" occurs when a reader is able to:
(a) associate individual words with their general definitions;
(b) discern that a series of words conveys one logical message;
(c) identify subtextual inferences in prose passages or poems;
(d) detect the writer's motives from what's omitted in a text;
(e) decide which multiple choice answer is the "least untrue."
Formalized testing teaches us:
(a) that our role is to guess someone else's (better) opinion;
(b) that competing with everyone else for a score is our value;
(c) how our worth will be rated at our jobs, in our lovelives, etc.;
(d) how to understand and resolve life crises in adulthood;
(e) that, whatever the issue, there is only one "right" answer.
- MATH PROBLEM: If Chicago teachers claim that elementary public schools contain forty students per classroom, and Chicago politicians maintain that the school system as a whole enjoys a ratio of one teacher for every sixteen students, what is the average number of students in the private schools where the politicians' children are enrolled?
Teaching methods other than standardized testing:
(a) are too difficult to measure, thus too impractical as tests;
(b) distract students from the data someone says they need;
(c) wildly claim that engaging the arts reinforces skills;
(d) get in the way of orderly, focused instruction;
(e) are more expensive than stacks of generic test booklets.
The primary goal of American education is:
(a) preparing the young to become unquestioning consumers;
(b) protecting the young from "unwholesome" non-binaries;
(c) enforcing obedience and checking weapons at the door;
(d) equating homework with a learning experience;
(e) lists of high test scores as measures of intelligence,
proficiency, and success of teachers and administrators.
ESSAY QUESTION (CHOOSE ONE): 500 Words Minimum
(a) Compare and contrast W. H. Auden's poem "The Unknown Citizen" to a billiard ball.
(b) Refute the claim that school-/ nationwide standardized testing conditions students to define themselves as failures, and bases both intellectual and community worth on "objective" (i.e., impersonal, unrefuted thus "valid") criteria.
(c) During a thermodynamic process, the temperature T of an object changes as heat Q is applied or extracted. A more correct definition of the entropy S is the differential form that accounts for this variation.
We could go on with questions about (a) the phrasing of questions and of answers (including not only trick questions but also the conditioning of test-takers to expect and accept the prospect of trick questions); (b) the pressure to cheat (felt by testees, testers, administrators, school boards, etc.); (c) unintentional ambiguity, arbitrariness, cultural biases, emphasis on data that is more "testable" than relevant, etc.; (d) errors in marking responses onto an answer sheet, scoring the answer sheets, etc.; and (e) fthe non-subjective value of standardized tests by which students/ administrators assess teachers and teachers assess students. But what would such an exercise ... excuse me ... prove?
Fill in the blank.