jan 17th: essay 1 – Standardized Testing: Paige Vs Weaver (the gloves are off)


so yeah, I’m going to post my essays for english 102. if you want, read through it and let me know how it is.

 

Standardized Testing: Paige Vs Weaver (the gloves are off)
By J Horsley III

I remember sitting at my parent’s house talking with my father over the standardized testing that was beginning to take place at my high school. At the time our little debacle seemed like what I would assume a debate between Rod Paige and Reg Weaver would have sounded like based on reading their essays; “Testing Has Raised Students’ Expectations, and Progress in Learning is Evident Nationwide” and “NCLB’s Excessive Reliance on Testing is Unrealistic, Arbitrary, and Frequently Unfair,” both witch take on pro and con sides of President Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). My father playing the roll of Rod Paige, pro-standardized testing, and myself the roll of the latter, Reg Weaver, who thinks standardized testing, is a load of hoo-hockey.

My first thought while reading through Rod Paige’s essay was that he seems to know what he’s talking about. He throws a lot of ‘facts’ at you that all sound like the wonderful merriment holy biblical truth that these test will eventually make the United States God-like in mental capability. On the other side, when you read through Reg Weaver’s essay you get ‘facts’ thrown at you that seem just as/or even more ostentatious than the facts in Rod Paige’s. The blind siding of skewed data is something both authors have in common, but that’s the basis of any good argument. Always make your side sound better.

That is exactly what each author does in their essays. Rod Paige focuses on primarily the positive aspects of the NCLB act, such as raising the minority literacy rate and children getting a higher education with technology at an earlier age. Weaver’s essay tells us that the NCLB act says that all schools should be at a 100% success rate for students by 2014 and goes through telling us how the CEA (Connecticut Education Association) and Ed Mascovitch of Massachusetts had scenarios run to predict where students will be in a set number of years if they fully adopt the NCLB act’s standardize testing. Mr. Paige’s argument relies on what seem to be cold hard facts form gathered information, whereas Reg Weaver’s are predicted data of something that I really don’t believe can be predicted with any degree of accuracy, let alone the basis for an argument about education.

On the flip side, Rod Paige puts way to much faith in standardized testing. Weaver suggests that students of different mental capabilities start at different points on the testing line. Rod Paige lets it be known that these tests can be used on anyone, regardless of mental capacity, to gauge where they should be. There’s a good point in the Weaver essay that hit home with me, and probably with anyone who reads the essay and has young children at home, and that’s that progress in learning is not linear in any way shape or form and in Rod Paige’s essay he really makes it sound like it is. Nowhere does he state that slower kids could go back, or slow it down to learn it, but simply that the slower children would have teachers with a better understanding of how to try new things to teach them. How a test can tell you this, I’m not sure but he stands by it like a soldier to a gun or a fat kid to a cup cake; relentless and never-fading.

The first essay relies on the fall back that the NCLB act has been implemented in order to find ways to reach the so-called unreachable or hard students, while the second tells us that students who excel will be forced to wait for slower students and waste precious academic time on this silly ninny standardized testing that could be used to better educate. The latter essay also tells us that while your excelling student will need to wait for others to catch up, that slower students will struggle and hold your average and excelling students back in their education. After reading this I paused for a moment and asked myself, which one is true? I thought about this for roughly forty five seconds then came to the conclusion that it, as with almost ALL debates on such subjects, is a combination of both arguments. Not that I have the wonder-cure-all answer for this debate, but it seems if each side of the debate would budge a little and compromise with each other and realize they both are seeking the same goals, they would be more ready to find a solution.

~j

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