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What a Load of Crap! Test Scores & the Failure of the American Education System

May 30th, 2014 05:00:00 am


What a Load of Crap! Test Scores & the Failure of the American Education System

Recently, a national scorecard was released to measure the education levels of twelfth graders. According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, 26% of students score at a proficient or high level in Math (up from 2005 but unchanged since 2009), and a 38% proficient or high level in reading (unchanged from 2009 but down from 1992). That means 74% of 12th graders are “below” basic math levels, and 62% are “below” basic levels of reading.

 

Students were polled about their thoughts on the two subjects. The results?

“Students who agreed that taking mathematics will help them in the future scored higher.”

“Students who reported that they more frequently discuss interpretations of what they read scored higher.”

 

Inversely, students who thought mathematics had no applicable place in their future didn't perform well in mathematics; students who hardly discussed the meaning or interpretations of readings and literature didn't perform well in reading.

 

The Pearson report said the US jumped from 17th to 14th this year in education. However, last year's worldwide Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) report stated that 29 nations outperformed the US in mathematics, 22 education systems scored better in science, and 19 scored better in reading.

 

I'm a huge advocate of proper education. Children gifted with ADHD need to be engaged with the value of what they're learning, before they're asked to learn it. If they can't see an applicable or valuable lesson in what's being taught, success will be nowhere in sight. Students need to be better engaged if we want better results.

 

People tout the epidemic of ADHD more than ever, questioning the overuse of drugs (in my view, one prescription is too many), but what about questioning our unexamined assumptions about the education system? The real problem lies there. Students are blamed for their performance and grades, while disengaged educators run classrooms, parents are flunking Parenting 101, and the government cuts the budget again and again.

 

It's easier to fail the child. It's easier to declare them “disabled” than it is to ask the school system or family unit to change. It's easier to throw a prescription at them, justify the over-medicating of children, and turn them into cash cows. Allowing big businesses, schools, and even families to profit off the label, disable, and medicate approach we're hiding behind is easier than taking real action. But if this inaction continues, the poor results will continue.

 

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Image source

National Assessment of Educational Progress: http://nationsreportcard.gov/reading_math_g12_2013/#/

Pearson:http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/marketplacek12/2014/05/new_global_index_from_pearson_puts_us.html

PISA: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/12/03/248329823/u-s-high-school-students-slide-in-math-reading-science



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