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 The Big Test 
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I find it rather amazing that the idea of educational testing which so governs our society today is a relatively new practice that grew to me what I consider haphazrdly and as a matter of chance happenings.

It's also interesting to me to read about the delineation of state colleges and universities. (I've wondered why ASU doesn't really offer any PhD degrees....aside form maybe one in administration. Is this the reason? It is a state school, but it also has the title of University....hmmm. Now I've confused myself. I guess I knew that everything was political, but this book really backs that cynical statement up. it's not necessarily about what is right, but it's more about who a person knows and what the "bigwigs" have to offer each other.

I also find it interesting that the SAT was believed to be an uncoachable test. I taught an SAT prep class, and I also benefited form one in high school. Like any test, the process can be "taught."

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Bobbi Faulkner


Wed Sep 13, 2006 3:26 pm
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Bobbi, as much as I hate to admit it, I wish someone had taught me how to take a test. I wish I had the strategies and techniques (that I now teach my students) way back when. I do think I would have been more sucessful with standardized tests. The "test" may not be exactly taught, but the testing strategies are definately in place. I think it will be interesting to see in the near future if SAT scores continue to rise when these expereinced test takers hit the SAT market. Or, will this unpreparable test show us a picture of true potential?

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Anna Page


Wed Sep 13, 2006 8:00 pm
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I think it is sad how much time is spent to "prepare" for these tests. Tests like the SATs and EOGs require so much effort in getting the students ready for these tests. I still don't see how it makes these students any more intelligent to score better on tests. I was never a great test taker, but always did good in school. It seems like effort could be better spent to teaching material then tests. I remember SAT prep courses at my school, but then just recently they were changing the test. It reminds me of the book The Big Test where they were constantly changing the test and trying to "better" it.

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Lindsey Mehall


Fri Sep 15, 2006 8:22 pm
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Last year our school worked so hard to bring up students scores on the EOG's. The teachers in grades 3-6 were trying every known possible way to teach the students how to take the end of grades to produce successful outcomes. Our speciality teachers were even tutoring the last 30 minutes of the day to help those students in need. Everyone cooperated and the past year's test scores turned out to be successful. You're exactly right about the time that is spent on preparing students for the test. It seemed to engross the minds of all last year and it was exhausting for all involved --- students and teachers.

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Tasha Sigmon


Sun Sep 17, 2006 9:49 am
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Bobbi, while reading this selection I had the same cynical feelings as you described. It is amazing how so much has seemingly changed, but it realy hasn't. Speaking to your comment on politics and connections, don't you find it interesting that the President of this great diverse nation is always an upper class, anglo-saxon, male? Just a thought that I hope makes sense in this context.

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Nora Vines


Sun Sep 17, 2006 10:44 am
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I too feel that we as teachers do alot of teaching the test and teaching how to take the test. I wish I as a child I would have been taught better test taking skills. In some ways I feel we are doing students a favor by teaching the test, but in other ways I feel we are hurting them, however it is something we have to do. Students are now known by their test scores.
That is a sad thing because there are many students just as I was that know the material but freeze up when it comes to a test.


Mon Sep 18, 2006 12:02 pm
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Bobbi: I was surprised to see how long this "testing" has been around, and how it came to be a requirement. I've heard all my life that lots of things depend "on who you know," and this book just confirms it. It's a shame that this big important test was built on such a shady foundation. I would like to think that things have changed today, but in reality, I'm afraid it hasn't.

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Barbara Stewart


Wed Sep 20, 2006 9:09 pm
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I don't think it is getting any better, only worse. Of course the government's reasoning behind EOG and EOC testing is not the delineation of social classes (or at least that is not what the government says), but testing as a whole is becoming more and more of the guiding force in school. No Child Left Behind and the implementation of more and more testing is defeating the purpose of high expectations and success for all. I also shudder at the thought of how much money is spent on the creation and implementation of these tests. I agree that there needs to be accountability in schools, however in the form of high stakes, high costs tests, I believe we have missed the mark.

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Melanie Huss


Sat Sep 23, 2006 11:34 am
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I was just talking to my principal the other day about getting out of a tested grade level. I can't stand all of the things that these children are expected to learn and know how to do. We put so much time and effort into preparing the children to take the EOG. I agree that there a students who don't test well. I don't either. I think performance on these types of tests have a lot to with the lives they lead also. Some children just don't see the importance in there for testing. If a child is wondering about his/her next meal or whether or not he/she is going to get beat when they home then the test really isn't their first priorty. No Child Left Behind doesn't really take this into account. That upsets me. When do kids just get to be kids?

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Kelly Drum


Tue Sep 26, 2006 2:39 pm
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I guess in that magical time between birth and kindergarten. I've often wondered that myself. I almost dread my little boy starting school because I don't want him to lose the magic of learning new things through play and discovery.

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Bobbi Faulkner


Tue Sep 26, 2006 6:12 pm
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Wow! Sorry kids you have to grow up at 5. :)

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Kelly Drum


Tue Oct 10, 2006 6:08 pm
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