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Sun Nov 18, 2012, 07:20 PM

One teen’s standardized testing horror story (and where it will lead)

Hello, my name is Ankur Singh and I’m 18 years old and just began my freshman year at the University of Missouri-Columbia majoring in journalism. I’m making a documentary film to capture the stories of students and how standardized testing has impacted them. If you’re reading this hopefully you’ll come to understand who I am and what I’m trying to accomplish as well as how you can help me.

This film isn’t a school project or an assignment I was given by some production company, but a personal project that I am pursuing independently. The idea really came about last year with a conversation I had with my French teacher, but the root of it starts a little bit earlier. My junior year of high school I was enrolled in an English class taught by the best teacher I ever had. This teacher realized that most of his students were not going to be writing essays about Alexander Pope poems in their professional careers, so instead of focusing on memorizing the content of the literature he focused on developing our critical thinking skills. He really pushed us when analyzing poems and books and allowed us to form our own ideas and argue them well. It was the only class I’ve ever taken where the lessons I learned will carry with me for the rest of my life and after completion I felt ten times smarter.

Senior year came along and it was time to apply to college. I enrolled in AP English due to my great experience with English the previous year hoping it would be more rigorous and I would grow even more as a writer and as a person. I was wrong. The entire purpose of AP English was not to improve our critical thinking or our writing, but to prepare for the AP Exam in May and to get ready for college. We read great pieces of literature that I highly enjoyed and wanted to learn more about. But, instead of analyzing themes or characters our teacher would give us questions which we would have to write essays about in a 50 minute class period similar to what we would find on the AP Exam and in college classes. It frustrated me to no avail and I ended up doing very poor in AP English. And I found the exact same thing in all of my other AP classes, which seemed more focused on college preparation and standardized tests rather than genuine learning.

I just felt very alone. All around me were students studying diligently, stressing out about their grades, homework, the ACT, college essays, AP tests. And here I was not really caring about any of those things. Were there really no students in this school who wanted anything more than just a college degree and a job? Is that really the purpose of education?

more ... http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2012/11/09/one-teens-standardized-testing-horror-story-and-where-it-will-lead/

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Reply One teen’s standardized testing horror story (and where it will lead) (Original post)
proud2BlibKansan Nov 2012 OP
madfloridian Nov 2012 #1
d_r Nov 2012 #2
LiberalAndProud Nov 2012 #14
HiPointDem Nov 2012 #27
progressoid Nov 2012 #76
pnwmom Nov 2012 #84
Sekhmets Daughter Nov 2012 #3
murielm99 Nov 2012 #5
Sekhmets Daughter Nov 2012 #16
HiPointDem Nov 2012 #28
dragonlady Nov 2012 #56
HiPointDem Nov 2012 #57
Sekhmets Daughter Nov 2012 #143
HiPointDem Nov 2012 #153
CreekDog Nov 2012 #139
pipoman Nov 2012 #18
HiPointDem Nov 2012 #54
hunter Nov 2012 #112
Barack_America Nov 2012 #117
HiPointDem Nov 2012 #156
HiPointDem Nov 2012 #155
CreekDog Nov 2012 #138
proud2BlibKansan Nov 2012 #9
Sekhmets Daughter Nov 2012 #17
harmonicon Nov 2012 #23
HiPointDem Nov 2012 #38
harmonicon Nov 2012 #86
HiPointDem Nov 2012 #87
harmonicon Nov 2012 #161
Luminous Animal Nov 2012 #48
Sekhmets Daughter Nov 2012 #101
roody Nov 2012 #51
xtraxritical Nov 2012 #58
harmonicon Nov 2012 #85
xtraxritical Nov 2012 #118
harmonicon Nov 2012 #163
HiPointDem Nov 2012 #157
harmonicon Nov 2012 #164
HiPointDem Nov 2012 #165
harmonicon Nov 2012 #166
HiPointDem Nov 2012 #167
harmonicon Nov 2012 #168
CreekDog Nov 2012 #141
harmonicon Nov 2012 #162
silhouete2 Nov 2012 #29
hrmjustin Nov 2012 #32
Luminous Animal Nov 2012 #52
iemitsu Nov 2012 #61
HiPointDem Nov 2012 #31
Starry Messenger Nov 2012 #34
HiPointDem Nov 2012 #37
Starry Messenger Nov 2012 #94
HiPointDem Nov 2012 #154
Sekhmets Daughter Nov 2012 #103
Sekhmets Daughter Nov 2012 #110
HiPointDem Nov 2012 #158
xtraxritical Nov 2012 #55
CaliforniaHiker Nov 2012 #66
coalition_unwilling Nov 2012 #65
Sekhmets Daughter Nov 2012 #97
coalition_unwilling Nov 2012 #144
Sekhmets Daughter Nov 2012 #149
HiPointDem Nov 2012 #160
CreekDog Nov 2012 #137
Sekhmets Daughter Nov 2012 #140
CreekDog Nov 2012 #142
Sekhmets Daughter Nov 2012 #145
CreekDog Nov 2012 #146
Sekhmets Daughter Nov 2012 #151
murielm99 Nov 2012 #4
Romulox Nov 2012 #6
proud2BlibKansan Nov 2012 #8
Romulox Nov 2012 #12
harmonicon Nov 2012 #24
HiPointDem Nov 2012 #35
Romulox Nov 2012 #42
HiPointDem Nov 2012 #50
Romulox Nov 2012 #68
HiPointDem Nov 2012 #72
Romulox Nov 2012 #75
joshcryer Nov 2012 #159
HiPointDem Nov 2012 #33
Romulox Nov 2012 #43
HiPointDem Nov 2012 #45
Romulox Nov 2012 #47
HiPointDem Nov 2012 #49
Romulox Nov 2012 #69
ellisonz Nov 2012 #78
DirkGently Nov 2012 #7
WinkyDink Nov 2012 #10
exboyfil Nov 2012 #11
aandegoons Nov 2012 #80
exboyfil Nov 2012 #119
antigop Nov 2012 #134
aandegoons Nov 2012 #135
Mass Nov 2012 #13
Romulox Nov 2012 #15
HiPointDem Nov 2012 #36
Romulox Nov 2012 #40
HiPointDem Nov 2012 #41
Romulox Nov 2012 #70
HiPointDem Nov 2012 #71
Romulox Nov 2012 #74
antigop Nov 2012 #131
Orangepeel Nov 2012 #19
TheCruces Nov 2012 #39
HiPointDem Nov 2012 #44
TheCruces Nov 2012 #46
HiPointDem Nov 2012 #53
JVS Nov 2012 #79
eridani Nov 2012 #82
antigop Nov 2012 #92
lbrtbell Nov 2012 #20
dangin Nov 2012 #21
jtuck004 Nov 2012 #22
kmlisle Nov 2012 #25
madaboutharry Nov 2012 #26
FarCenter Nov 2012 #62
antigop Nov 2012 #91
FarCenter Nov 2012 #96
antigop Nov 2012 #98
antigop Nov 2012 #99
FarCenter Nov 2012 #104
antigop Nov 2012 #106
antigop Nov 2012 #100
FarCenter Nov 2012 #105
antigop Nov 2012 #108
antigop Nov 2012 #102
FarCenter Nov 2012 #107
antigop Nov 2012 #109
antigop Nov 2012 #111
FarCenter Nov 2012 #113
antigop Nov 2012 #114
FarCenter Nov 2012 #116
antigop Nov 2012 #120
FarCenter Nov 2012 #124
antigop Nov 2012 #125
FarCenter Nov 2012 #136
antigop Nov 2012 #147
antigop Nov 2012 #148
antigop Nov 2012 #126
antigop Nov 2012 #127
antigop Nov 2012 #130
antigop Nov 2012 #132
antigop Nov 2012 #121
antigop Nov 2012 #122
antigop Nov 2012 #115
antigop Nov 2012 #93
SheilaT Nov 2012 #152
DiverDave Nov 2012 #30
lunasun Nov 2012 #64
aikoaiko Nov 2012 #59
HiPointDem Nov 2012 #88
aikoaiko Nov 2012 #90
FarCenter Nov 2012 #60
LeftyMom Nov 2012 #63
antigop Nov 2012 #67
XemaSab Nov 2012 #73
coalition_unwilling Nov 2012 #77
HiPointDem Nov 2012 #89
aandegoons Nov 2012 #81
brokechris Nov 2012 #83
antigop Nov 2012 #95
antigop Nov 2012 #123
antigop Nov 2012 #129
SomethingFishy Nov 2012 #128
antigop Nov 2012 #133
antigop Nov 2012 #150

Response to proud2BlibKansan (Original post)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 07:24 PM

1. Education now about profit for testing companies. And test-scoring companies. And Billionaires.

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Response to madfloridian (Reply #1)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 07:33 PM

2. internal vs. external motivation

process vs. outcome oriented

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Response to madfloridian (Reply #1)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 07:51 PM

14. Omg, it's good to see you here.

I've missed your posts.

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Response to madfloridian (Reply #1)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 09:31 PM

27. +1

 

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Response to madfloridian (Reply #1)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 02:15 AM

76. "It's a racket"

A quote from a friend and retired guidance counselor.

Also, great to see you again...

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Response to progressoid (Reply #76)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 06:21 AM

84. It is indeed. n/t

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Original post)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 07:34 PM

3. Well one place a degree in Journalism won't lead today

is to gainful employment.

As a writing sample, this would not have passed muster in my journalism classes back in the 1960s. The state of US education is truly deplorable.

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Response to Sekhmets Daughter (Reply #3)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 07:36 PM

5. Now that you mention it,

this was not well written. Sheese.

What does one do with a journalism degree? Will these degrees become obsolete in the near future? Will schools begin to drop journalism as a major?

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Response to murielm99 (Reply #5)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 07:56 PM

16. Today? Not much...

Even when I graduated, right after they buried King Tut, jobs in the field were few and far between. I read an article in a business publication several months ago that listed jobs that were becoming increasingly obsolete.... 'Journalist' was one such. Just look at the number of newspapers and magazines folding every year all across the country. If law schools are any indication, then no universities won't drop Journalism as a major until they absolutely must. In 2011 Florida law schools graduated 2,500 new lawyers to fill 500 positions.

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Response to Sekhmets Daughter (Reply #16)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 09:33 PM

28. "then no universities won't drop Journalism as a major until they absolutely must."

 

you're criticizing the kid's writing?

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #28)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 10:50 PM

56. Presumably this was meant to say

"Then no, universities won't drop Journalism ..." Given the way many people write on Internet forums these days, relying on the spell-checker that leaves gibberish behind when it guesses wrong on a misspelled word, a dropped comma is the least of it.

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Response to dragonlady (Reply #56)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 10:52 PM

57. you can presume all you like; it's not grammatical, and the problem isn't just a

 

dropped comma.

literate people don't need spell-check.

thus ironic the poster attacks the kid in the OP for his "poor writing skills" when his only grammatical error is no bigger than hers.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #28)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 02:40 PM

143. The same mistake

not once, but twice.

I do appreciate the correction. Not as much, however, as I appreciate your alerting another poster to the "ignore" feature here on DU. You are a stalker, I've seen you in action with other people. So I shall follow your lead and put you on ignore. Adios.

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Response to Sekhmets Daughter (Reply #143)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 04:32 PM

153. no more than you. byee.

 

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Response to Sekhmets Daughter (Reply #16)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 02:23 PM

139. LOL and you worked in the field, criticized some 18-year old's blog post, and your comment is shoddy

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Response to murielm99 (Reply #5)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 08:04 PM

18. The days of the gum shoe reporter

may be over. A journalist is like any other artist, there will always be stars in the reporting world.

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Response to pipoman (Reply #18)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 10:46 PM

54. journalism isn't just about reporting, and while there are way less jobs than there

 

used to be, there are still some opportunities to use the degree.

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Response to murielm99 (Reply #5)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 10:59 AM

112. Passing these exams is not about writing well.

My kids are excellent writers who scored very well on these exams. Both got into highly rated colleges.

But the writing strategies they used were very mechanical.

The people who read these tests also use a very mechanical scoring system.

It's all about "productivity," and not critical thinking. It's about how many of these tests can be scored in an hour.

The private corporations that manage these schemes ought to be expelled from our schools and colleges. The private text book industry ought to be expelled too.

Education is a socialist enterprise and it ought to be managed as such.


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Response to hunter (Reply #112)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 11:24 AM

117. Communication is a mechanical scoring system.

Starting with sentences containing a noun and a verb.

But I agree that many graders of standardized tests do not take sufficient time to fully analyze and consider the content they are grading.

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Response to Barack_America (Reply #117)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 09:36 PM

156. essay grading on standardized tests is an assembly line process. no "many" about it.

 

i did it back in the day & i doubt it's changed. more likely gotten worse, because it's conducted on an even larger and more impersonal, corporate scale.

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Response to hunter (Reply #112)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 09:34 PM

155. i can vouch for that. you use a rubric with certain points you look for. the kid can use

 

gorgeous language, have scintillating ideas, creative thought processes, clever use of allusion & otherwise variously demonstrate high-level writing -- but if he doesn't have 4 points in the body and summarize them in the conclusion or whatever -- then the essay is a dog, per the rating system.

dunno about AP, but i imagine it's basically the same. it's just underpaid academic workers trying to get through as many of the things as they can in the allotted time frame, and mechanical is all there's time for.

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Response to murielm99 (Reply #5)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 02:21 PM

138. how old is he?

what a silly boy he must be.

he should have a college degree before he aspires to go to college and learn something

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Response to Sekhmets Daughter (Reply #3)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 07:42 PM

9. He makes it pretty clear that the focus of his coursework was on test prep,

and not on developing writing skills.

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Reply #9)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 08:02 PM

17. He makes it clear that he was expected to write essays.

Would you agree that is a sure fire way to develop writing skills? He is trying to justify a poor grade when what he needs to do is learn how to write.

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Response to Sekhmets Daughter (Reply #17)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 09:08 PM

23. Boom!! Thanks for saying that!

I've never understood things like "I don't test well." It's a nicer way of saying, "I don't know shit," because tests are about what you've learned.

It seems like this kid didn't look into what he was getting himself into, be it AP classes or college, and is now upset that things in his adult life aren't just fun like they were for him as a child. Shit's hard and boring? What a surprise.

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Response to harmonicon (Reply #23)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 09:59 PM

38. oh bull. there's plenty of kids/people who don't test well, for various reasons, but

 

have learned just fine.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #38)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 06:37 AM

86. Yeah, whatever.

I'm one of the best looking straight dudes on earth. Want proof? Sorry. I just don't attract women well.

I'm also a great cook. Want some food? Whoops. I don't cook well.

People can learn a lot of things just fine, but they haven't learned what's on a test if they do a terrible job at it. Maybe they learned something else, but not what they were supposed to.

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Response to harmonicon (Reply #86)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 06:49 AM

87. do they give standardized tests to judge appearance & cooking? i had no idea.

 

do you even know what a standardized test is?

Ask a teacher if they've ever had students who can do the work but don't do well on tests.

Test anxiety is one reason. Some kids don't perform well under pressure. Various handicaps are another. Boredom and inability to tolerate multiple stupid meaningless tests is yet another.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #87)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 03:40 PM

161. People who are shitty at tests are shitty at school. That's how it works.

I thought standardized tests were a fucking joke when I was in school, and I was right. It's not like they're great or anything. I chose not to even apply to grad schools that required a GRE, because I thought the thing was a fucking joke.

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Response to harmonicon (Reply #23)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 10:32 PM

48. In high school, my calculus teacher would tear his hair out because I did so poorly on tests

when he knew, from my class participation and homework, that I knew the subject well. I had a similar problem with algebra.

I can still hear Mr. Baldino's high pitched frustration with my test results.

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Response to Luminous Animal (Reply #48)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 10:16 AM

101. Yes, I know what you mean...I struggled with math all through

elementary school. It was a standardized test that saved me...ironic, no? In sixth grade I did extremely well on the test and my teacher was sooooo excited for me. It changed everything.

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Response to harmonicon (Reply #23)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 10:39 PM

51. Standardized tests at the elementary level

do not show what one has learned. There is no writing involved.

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Response to harmonicon (Reply #23)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 10:53 PM

58. It's not good form to make readers guess what AP means either. "Schools hard and boring", not shit.

 

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Response to xtraxritical (Reply #58)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 06:34 AM

85. It's one of the things from the poorly-written piece that I didn't look up.

I remember what AP means, even though I never took the classes. That would have been about 16 or 17 years ago for me, if I had.

If he thinks doing an AP class or freshman college class is hard, he's in for a rude awakening when it comes to making a documentary. Do you think he's bothered to learn all of the boring details about lighting, audio, etc. he needs to know to even make it semi-watchable from a technical level? I don't.

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Response to harmonicon (Reply #85)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 11:45 AM

118. Learning the hard way is what being a high school kid is all about!

 

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Response to xtraxritical (Reply #118)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 03:45 PM

163. He's not a high school kid.

Dropping out of college and blaming high school for your failures is not what being an adult's about.

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Response to harmonicon (Reply #85)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 09:45 PM

157. The kid didn't write it for WAPO readers. He wrote it on his blog, for an audience

 

of students and academics, asking for participation in the film he wants to make. So actually, he wrote it in a suitable style for its intended audience and format: informal, conversational, peer-to-peer.

The WAPO picked it up for whatever reason.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #157)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 03:48 PM

164. Is the style classified as "poor" or "shitty" officially?

What are his film credentials? Oh, he's a college dropout who wants to make a movie about how other people are responsible for his failures? Awesome. Why wouldn't I have confidence in that.

While we're at it, I'd like to put a bid in to take astronauts to the space station. My credentials are that I wanted to maybe be an astronaut as a kid, but I'm shitty at science and math. My fault? Hell no. I'm going to blame high school.

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Response to harmonicon (Reply #164)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 05:22 AM

165. it's a blog post. Don't you have more important things to be upset about?

 

whether he's the second coming of godot or just a schmuck, why do you care?

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #165)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 09:15 AM

166. I care because I care deeply about education, its role in society, and that future.

I was a student for the bulk of my life, but I've also been a teacher, primarily of folks in the age groups he's addressing here. I care a lot about what inspires young people, makes them curious to learn, and - once curious - most able to learn.

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Response to harmonicon (Reply #166)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 05:10 PM

167. test prep classes don't inspire anyone. classes of the type the student praised, do.

 

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #167)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 10:54 PM

168. That's why I never took AP classes.

I still got into a great school. I still got a degree. This kid wants to complain about poor choices? I'm happy to tell him to fuck off. Myself, and millions of others, have been busy actually producing culture instead of bitching about how what our parents wanted us to take in high school didn't jibe with being successful artists.

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Response to harmonicon (Reply #23)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 02:27 PM

141. If you don't understand it, then maybe you should not comment on it.

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Response to CreekDog (Reply #141)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 03:44 PM

162. I think I understand it.

I managed to go through high school, undergrad, master's, and PhD without taking AP classes and always considering standardized tests a joke.

I didn't sign up for AP classes, bitch about how they were hard, do a shitty job in college, drop out, and blame high school for it.

Know what was shitty? Probably something in kindergarten, but I'm a fucking adult now, so I'm not going to whine about it.

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Response to Sekhmets Daughter (Reply #17)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 09:41 PM

29. Expecting to write essays and developing writing skills are NOT mutually exclusive.

(Sorry, but they aren't. Having to write essays, doesn't mean he is learning how to write an essay. By the description, the person is saying all they were required to do is write essays so they could pass the AP exam. Now, when I took AP classes in my youth, we actually learned AP level work--analyzing/critical thinking development and delving deeper into the material--which was synonymous with college level expectations back in my day. I took AP English--and we prepared to take the exam by learning the course material and critical thinking skills , which in turn would give us the skills necessary in order to pass the AP exam. There was a few weeks of prep for the test, but the majority of my AP classwork was in doing some critical thinking/analytic work. We did writing--but we were also taught HOW to do a critical writing piece--critiqued by the teacher and our peers--not just told to write for writing sake.

I am an educator myself, and I see this kind of "teach to the test" mentality. AP classes were NEVER designed to prepare you for the AP test. They were designed to give us a taste of what things were going to be like in college--thus the coursework was harder than an average high school class. The guy has a point--if all they are doing in the AP class is preparing for the AP test--that is a waste of time and energy, because they were never designed for that. The problem I see in students nowadays, thanks to NCLB--is that we have abandoned critical thinking skills in favor of spitting our correct answers on a test --all multiple choice and never requiring the student to explain how they know they are right. That is why universities around the country complain bitterly that students are NOT ready for the demands of college--where it isn't just about a test. It is about thinking. The institution of Common Core standards will help in this department. We can't have it both ways in this country--we compare ourselves to Asian countries, yet we hold originality and critical thinking in high esteem in our business and advanced schooling. Our school system ---our textbooks we are required to teach "with fidelity" do not address the higher thinking, nor ability to do critical analysis both orally and in writing. That is why we will fall farther and farther behind--because we are educating a generation who cannot think critically. I'm sure they won't be very happy we did that to them, either.

(I've lurked here for over a year and finally decided to respond to a post)

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Response to silhouete2 (Reply #29)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 09:46 PM

32. Welcome to DU, and thank you for joining up.

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Response to silhouete2 (Reply #29)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 10:39 PM

52. Thank you for that. My high school AP classes not only addressed a well constructed essay but a well

though out one. Originality of ideas, in the context of the assignment, was near as important as expertly utilizing structure to convey those ideas.

And welcome to DU!

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Response to silhouete2 (Reply #29)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 11:07 PM

61. Welcome to DU

and thanks for your comments and observations.
As a twenty-plus year veteran of teaching, I concur with your assessment of the standardized testing movement, students learning styles and motivation, and where this will all leave us and our children.
"teach to the test" classrooms are boring for both students and teachers.

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Response to Sekhmets Daughter (Reply #17)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 09:46 PM

31. if it's so sure-fire, why did he do poorly in english? but for my money, writing

 

high school and intro college essays does nothing for writing skills beyond basic organization - which doesn't develop higher-level writing skills. it develops the ability to write boring 4 paragraph essays with a topic sentence & support in an assembly-line style.

you develop higher-level writing skills by reading a wide variety of higher-level work, and understanding it.

and fwiw, there's nothing wrong with the kid's writing sample here except for one sentence -- which could easily be the result of a typo, an editing oversight, or transition from his writing medium to "print". the message he's trying to convey comes through clearly and the writing is reasonably consise.

you had a similar error in one of your posts here. so heal thyself, physician. you got no room to criticize the kid.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #31)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 09:50 PM

34. Exactly. AP essay standards are incredibly formulaic.

Being creative can actually go against your score. I ended up getting high scores on mine but developed better writing skills in college.

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Response to Starry Messenger (Reply #34)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 09:58 PM

37. lol. "developed better writing skills in college". i've done essay grading/norming

 

for standardized tests at the university level, it really opened my eyes.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #37)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 09:31 AM

94. Well, I went on for art and was lucky to have some writers as teachers.

I agree that GE writing classes might not be that awesome either, but the college level English teachers I know all seemed to be trying their hardest to get students to improve.

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Response to Starry Messenger (Reply #94)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 09:27 PM

154. i wasn't being snarky about learning better writing skills in college. i thought it was

 

funny that remark v. the comparison with the dreary 4-5 paragraph essay, topic + support + conclusion, that's drilled in HS & adored by standardized testers.

when i was teaching the thing (to foreign students), i noticed that i had a hard time finding good examples from real-life writing. it's a good thing to teach just because a lot of young writers seem to have a hard time organizing unless they're heavy readers, but it seemed to me it's most useful for the business world.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #31)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 10:23 AM

103. I missed a comma.

You, obviously, missed a number of grammatical errors in the letter.

The message that comes through clearly is that young Mr. Singh needs much more practice in communicating his thoughts. He would be better served if someone would edit his writing sample and tell him he needs to read more and whine less.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #31)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 10:40 AM

110. He did poorly

because, unlike you, he thought he did 'poor'. He did poorly because, like you, he didn't seem to notice any of the other numerous errors in his piece...only one of which could be attributed to thinking faster than he can type.

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Response to Sekhmets Daughter (Reply #110)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 09:47 PM

158. i didn't notice any in the excerpt (except for the other one in the same section, as noted

 

earlier).

maybe your eye is more keen. perhaps if you listed the numerous errors?

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Response to Sekhmets Daughter (Reply #17)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 10:49 PM

55. Exactly, when in a class do what the teacher wants. When employed do what the employer wants.

 

When being creative be true to your vision and hope it will be published someday. Also, when using acronyms it is standard in English grammar to spell out the abbreviation on first usage. The poster should have written advanced placement (AP) classes on the first use of the term and then thereafter freely used the AP short hand. I was able to ascertain his/her meaning but it's not good writing to make your readers guess.

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Response to Sekhmets Daughter (Reply #17)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 11:20 PM

66. I took AP English in High School

And I read great literature, learned a great deal, but yes, we did do timed 50 minutes essays in class. Having to write a timed essay is great practice to organizing your thought and synthesizing your knowledge about what you've read. We still had great discussions in class about the books we were reading.

The AP literature and composition test is half written exam. They are trying to determine if you have college level writing skills. Good luck trying to write 3 essays in 2 hours if you haven't practiced doing it before.

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Response to Sekhmets Daughter (Reply #3)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 11:19 PM

65. Why would it not have passed muster in your journalism classes back in the 1960s? It's a personal

 

essay (falling in the journalistic category of op-ed piece, I suppose).

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Response to coalition_unwilling (Reply #65)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 10:03 AM

97. Subject matter has nothing to do with it...style and grammar, everything.

Opening sentence:

Hello, my name is Ankur Singh and I’m 18 years old and just began my freshman year at the University of Missouri-Columbia majoring in journalism

Notice anything? How about the use of 'and' twice in one sentence? While the rules of style have changed over the years, that one is still in place.

How about Alexander Pope poems? Just exactly what are they, some new form of poetry? Alexander Pope's poems, or better still "the poetry of Alexander Pope"

Young Mr. Singh doesn't appear to care for adverbs. He didn't do 'poor' in his AP English Class, he did 'poorly' Those are just a few of the numerous "fails' contained in this essay.

For a college freshman, seeking a degree in journalism, his writing style is extremely immature and he will continue to struggle in those courses that tend to rely on essay exams or research papers for final grades.

I think the young man was not well served by his favorite teacher, who obviously graded on analysis while ignoring form. The ability to think critically is, indeed, priceless not only in academia but in all of life. The ability to express that thinking clearly is just as important. The purpose of his AP English course was to hone that ability to express himself clearly and intelligently....

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Response to Sekhmets Daughter (Reply #97)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 02:51 PM

144. Well, I can see that textual criticism is not your forte, to put it mildly. Singh's piece

 

was copied from his personal blog by the Education editor for the WaPo. None of us know whether Singh was given the opportunity to spruce up his piece prior to its publication in the WaPo. Perhaps the fault lies with the WaPo editor for failing to perform even rudimentary editing, speaking of failing to pass journalistic muster.

As I noted downthread, the original piece appears to have been published in a blog:

http://listenthefilm.wordpress.com/2012/11/06/who-am-i-and-why-should-you-care-about-this-silly-documentary/

The use of 'and' twice in a single sentence violates no known rule of grammar, provided that the 'and' links two independent clauses, as it does here in both instances. Granted, the syntax is a little stilted perhaps. (Might have read a bit more elegantly to say, "Hello, my name is Ankur Singh and I'm 18 years old and just beginning my freshman year . . .") But there's no rule of grammar or style violated that I'm aware of.

The essay is a highly artificial, ad hoc form. Since the days of Montaigne, few real writers have said to themselves, "Gee, I think I shall sit down and compose an essay." Instead, real writers say to themselves, "I'm going to write about the problem with AP classes." Thus, demanding that writers conform to some abstract 'essay' aesthetic in order to pass journalistic muster strikes me as the height of pedantry and the antithesis of what real writing is all about.


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Response to coalition_unwilling (Reply #144)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 03:40 PM

149. Whatever....

The simple fact that, by his own admission, he did poorly (poor, to quote him) in AP English as taught in his high school, is indication that he is going to have trouble in college in those courses which require writing essays and research papers. He's a journalism major, not an engineering major for Pete's sake.

Look, I totally agree that 'teaching to the test', grades 1 - 11 is a major mistake. However, by 12th grade students who want to go on to college benefit from classes that teach them how to take the SAT/ACT tests. They will be competing with students whose parents can spend thousand of dollars for private tutoring. Furthermore, why is everyone assuming that because students were asked to write essays that answered a particular question about a particular reading assignment, there was no critical thinking involved? That's sheer nonsense. He did poorly, because he writes poorly. The idea really came about last year with a conversation I had with my French teacher, but the root of it starts a little bit earlier. Are you really going to tell me this is a well constructed sentence? Or this:
It was the only class I’ve ever taken where the lessons I learned will carry with me for the rest of my life and after completion I felt ten times smarter.

I've raised 3 children, put all 3 through college and I've heard every excuse imaginable. This smells of being another.

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Response to Sekhmets Daughter (Reply #97)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 10:04 PM

160. OMG. You tell me there are numerous errors, & that's the kind of BS you come up

 

with?

There's only one error there, and that's the one i pointed out for you.

There's also a vocabulary error nearby, but you didn't catch that, i guess.

The way you and a couple of other posters were going on about how ungrammatical etc the writing was, i thought i must have missed something.

But no, just petty stylistic nitpicking from your own personal POV. The kind of petty critique that's guaranteed to make students uninterested in writing well because it's so arbitrary and specific to a specific teacher/writer/reader.

using two identical conjunctions in a row ain't an error; there's no such 'rule' as you claim. "Alexander Pope poems" ditto. There's nothing better about the two alternatives you list. I doubt you'd be able to give a rational stylistic reason for using your alternatives, either. Just your arbitrary preference.


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Response to Sekhmets Daughter (Reply #3)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 02:14 PM

137. you need to say why it wouldn't have passed

or else it's just an unsupported conclusion.

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Response to CreekDog (Reply #137)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 02:26 PM

140. Here you go...

Opening sentence:

Hello, my name is Ankur Singh and I’m 18 years old and just began my freshman year at the University of Missouri-Columbia majoring in journalism

Notice anything? How about the use of 'and' twice in one sentence? While the rules of style have changed over the years, that one is still in place.

How about Alexander Pope poems? Just exactly what are they, some new form of poetry? Alexander Pope's poems, or better still "the poetry of Alexander Pope"

Young Mr. Singh doesn't appear to care for adverbs. He didn't do 'poor' in his AP English Class, he did 'poorly' Those are just a few of the numerous "fails' contained in this essay.

For a college freshman, seeking a degree in journalism, his writing style is extremely immature and he will continue to struggle in those courses that tend to rely on essay exams or research papers for final grades.

I think the young man was not well served by his favorite teacher, who obviously graded on analysis while ignoring form. The ability to think critically is, indeed, priceless not only in academia but in all of life. The ability to express that thinking clearly is just as important. The purpose of his AP English course was to hone that ability to express himself clearly and intelligently....

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Response to Sekhmets Daughter (Reply #140)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 02:36 PM

142. it's funny that you, the uber writing critic, are ignorant of the theme, the discussion, etc.

the point a lot of us are making, the point the student is making, the point many teachers are making, the point the people in this thread are making is that kids are being educated to pass tests with capricious and arbitrary goals.

so single-minded is the focus on the tests that it is taking away and depriving children of AN EDUCATION --you know, where kids learn to write, learn to understand, learn analytical and higher levels of thinking. those things are being sacrificed, all of them.

but in your small world, you are marking with the red pen and missing the point everyone else is seeing.

and you're a reporter?

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Response to CreekDog (Reply #142)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 03:04 PM

145. I made no claims to being a reporter.

I simply pointed out that young Mr. Singh was not well served by his favorite teacher. I understand the arguments being made in his defense and had his writing style been less immature and more grammatically correct, I might have agreed with all of you who are up in arms about "teaching to the test". However, based on what I have been able to ascertain, AP English for high school seniors has 2 purposes: preparation for the SAT/ACT tests and preparation for the writing that will required at the college level.

I surrender...Mr. Singh's letter is absolutely brilliant. He needs no further instruction on how to express himself more clearly and will earn an A+ on every exam using the essay format and all of his research papers because college professors are never influenced by style over substance.

Happy now?

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Response to Sekhmets Daughter (Reply #145)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 03:12 PM

146. i criticized you NOT because i thought Singh's post was brilliant or error-free, by no means

i kind of think you took the easy way out.

instead of commenting on the larger point, which we are all doing and which is the point --what often gets sacrificed when one teaches to tests, you chose to dismiss the whole thing because an 18-year old freshman's writing "sample" wouldn't get through your filter.

i just thought it was kind of cheap, and really easy, but not very insightful.

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Response to CreekDog (Reply #146)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 04:09 PM

151. I think the easy way out

would have been to ignore the entire thread. Making the less popular argument is never easy.

The knee-jerk reaction to "teaching to the test" that most, not all, are putting forth as new or well thought out opinion is neither informative nor productive and certainly not insightful. Teaching to the test is an absurdity grades 1 - 11. But Mr. Singh's complaint was with 12th grade AP English and he didn't like the fact that his sloppy grammar and immature style didn't earn him the high grade he expected. Sorry, that is his own failure. Aided and abetted by a previous teacher who had no focus on grammar.

I didn't chose to ignore anything, I chose, instead, to give a reasonable explanation as to why the young man received a disappointing grade in his AP English class.

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Original post)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 07:34 PM

4. Two of my children went to our state's

math and science academy. At the beginning of their senior years, they were both chomping at the bit to enroll in as many AP classes as possible. This school actually limited the number of AP classes their students were allowed to take. One of the teachers told me that they were trying to avoid becoming an AP mill.

I commend them for that.

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Original post)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 07:38 PM

6. If he wasn't capable of college-level work, he shouldn't have been in the AP class.

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Response to Romulox (Reply #6)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 07:41 PM

8. Did you even read the article?

Cause you're missing the point entirely.

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Reply #8)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 07:49 PM

12. Yes indeed I did. The young man does not appear prepared for college-level course work.

The study of English language and literature is (believe it or not!) a real and actual discipline. The level of inquiry the young man was speaking of--"analyzing themes or characters"--is entirely appropriate for the grade level he was enrolled in--it just isn't "Advanced Placement".

Complaining that the teacher was preparing the class for the "Advanced Placement Exam" tends to underscore both the inexperience and a certain lack of knowledge of the very purpose (and requirements for succesful completion of!) the "Advanced Placement" class. There was nothing stopping the young man from taking a class more commensurate with his abilities--but he seems to have wanted "Advanced Placement" credit with standard grade-level effort.

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Response to Romulox (Reply #12)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 09:10 PM

24. +1

I didn't take any AP classes when I was in high school. I didn't see the point. My senior year of high school was fun and easy, just how I wanted it. College was hard, but I still did well at it, eventually. When I got poor grades I certainly didn't just whine about how the classes weren't challenging me in the right ways.

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Response to Romulox (Reply #12)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 09:53 PM

35. what a load of hooey. analyzing themes and characters is one of the things

 

done in college-level english classes, & i've taken a boatload of them.

AP classes aren't/weren't originally designed as test prep classes, and an AP English class that consists entirely of writing essays that will past muster on the narrow value scale of a standardized AP exam is a bad joke.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #35)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 10:18 PM

42. Nope. Not at the level he describes. He needs to APPLY that basic level of skill to earn AP

credit. If you read the kid's essay in the WaPo it is clear that he isn't an exceptional writer. He would've been better served in the grade-appropriate class.

AP classes aren't/weren't originally designed as test prep classes, and an AP English class that consists entirely of writing essays that will past muster on the narrow value scale of a standardized AP exam is a bad joke.


They have always included exit tests in order to earn the credit. From the beginning. To rail against it is to misunderstand the purpose of the class. Just take the regular English class if you don't want to take an AP class.

Because you'll not locate an AP class in which you'll earn college credits without passing an AP exam. And passing an AP exam isn't likely if the class is based on the sort of free-form "what does freedom mean to me?" level of writing the kid wanted to do.

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Response to Romulox (Reply #42)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 10:37 PM

50. I've taken every level of english class that exists and supposedly am in the top 1%

 

in the nation by various standardized tests. i know very well what goes on in college english courses.

he may not be an exceptional writer, but neither are most people who take college english classes. he's perfectly capable of writing at the college level.

anyway, won't be responding to your posts anymore, too tiresome.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #50)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 12:47 AM

68. Why can't you disagree without being disagreeable?

I've never insulted you. Nor have I invited your responses.

Why respond to me, then peter out with a lame insult? You realize it says way more about you than me? That's not even mentioning the ever-so-cute "I'm in the top 1%!" (in broken grammar, no less.)

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Response to Romulox (Reply #68)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 01:17 AM

72. no problem, i'll just put you on ignore. no great loss in missing the posts of some

 

one who claims college english course don't talk about character, etc.

bye rommie!

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #72)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 01:25 AM

75. OK. You'll just find somebody else to attack, so the problem won't go away...

one who claims college english course don't talk about character, etc.


I think alcohol may be a factor. I don't know what you're talking about!

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Response to Romulox (Reply #75)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 09:57 PM

159. For someone who places in the "top 1%" they sure have a strange writing style.

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Response to Romulox (Reply #6)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 09:47 PM

33. then he was obviously judged capable of higher level work, or he wouldn't have gotten

 

in.

perhaps writing a succession of the kind of stupid topic-sentence-body with support-summary-paragraph essays that work for standardized test bored the living crap out of him.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #33)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 10:19 PM

43. OK. He still has to *DO* the high level work to earn the credit.

perhaps writing a succession of the kind of stupid topic-sentence-body with support-summary-paragraph essays that work for standardized test bored the living crap out of him.


Read the WaPo piece. Such work is NOT beyond the author.

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Response to Romulox (Reply #43)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 10:22 PM

45. that's his beef. the class didn't *do* the higher-level work. it was a test-prep

 

class only.

there's a difference.

My junior year of high school I was enrolled in an English class taught by the best teacher I ever had....He really pushed us when analyzing poems and books and allowed us to form our own ideas and argue them well...

I enrolled in AP English due to my great experience with English the previous year hoping it would be more rigorous and I would grow even more as a writer and as a person. I was wrong. The entire purpose of AP English was not to improve our critical thinking or our writing, but to prepare for the AP Exam in May and to get ready for college. We read great pieces of literature... But, instead of analyzing themes or characters our teacher would give us questions which we would have to write essays about in a 50 minute class period similar to what we would find on the AP Exam and in college classes...



In other words, they were assigned a reading and then asked to write an essay, then graded on it as though it were an AP exam. No discussion or analysis.

That's not what college-level English is like.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #45)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 10:29 PM

47. The kid's WaPo piece is all over the place, without a strong central theme.

The author (or someone who WaPo is allowing to represent himself as the author) has responded angrily to some of the comments on the WaPo piece suggesting that the piece has some flaws:


singh_ank11/9/2012 9:13 AM EST
Seriously, who does this kid think he is?! How dare he even write something that doesn't have perfect grammar? I'm frankly appalled and disgusted by his laziness and utter lack of care. He should never write anything or show is face in public every again. Ugh.


Anyone who doesn't understand that authorship means revision, revision, and MORE revision isn't "beyond" the basics. Likewise anyone who writes who is able to take criticism in stride.

So while the "testing overload" story is a real one, this a bad example. It reads more like a typical story of the impetuousness of youth coupled with not knowing what one doesn't know.

I'm so glad they didn't have blogs when I was going to school, that's for certain.

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Response to Romulox (Reply #47)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 10:34 PM

49. lol. the central theme is quite clear, and the grammar is fine (at least in the excerpt) but

 

for the use of "poor" rather than "poorly". not a big deal.

the people ranting about his poor english skills in the WAPO are either stupid or paid trolls, imo.

your other criticisms don't even make sense.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #49)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 12:50 AM

69. Um, try reading *the piece*, rather than excerpt. This is a discussion about that piece,

not about your desire to refute whatever I've posted (irrespective of its content.)

You are obsessive in your need to be nasty to me, and it's just silly. You aren't even responding to anything I've posted in any meaningful way.

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Response to Romulox (Reply #47)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 03:06 AM

78. +1

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Original post)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 07:41 PM

7. Great find. High-impact standard tests are ruining education.

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Original post)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 07:44 PM

10. Former h.s. English teacher. All I can say is, "Tell me about it."

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Original post)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 07:49 PM

11. My High School junior daughter is not taking a single AP class

I am paying for her to take classes from a local university and an online community college. She will have 3+ semesters completed in engineering when she graduates from High School. After she takes the courses that are equivalent to the AP classes at the High School, the 2nd sem Freshman and Sophomore classes will be paid for by the school. The AP is a rip off - you study for a year of intense college material and have to get a 4 or a 5 on the test to get college credit. We decided to bypass that rat race. At the end of this semester my daughter will have 21 1/2 hrs. of college credit between this past summer and the fall (4 1/2 paid for by the school). She will add another 12 1/2 hrs this spring (all paid for).

One thing I disagree with him on is that you do have to grow up. Children used to have to grow up at 16. Now we are extending that age to 22 or even later. I am amazed that 18 and 19 year olds go off to college spending big bucks without some sort of plan for their lives. As I was telling my daughter, if you are not certain then get a job and take one or two community college classes until you have better definition. I know many areas are depressed for entry level work, but their are opportunities in this country. If 3 or 4 young adults get together in a small apartment, they can swing working at entry level jobs.

I do like to the idea of doing a documentary. My daughter does documentary film making as well. She hopes to combine it with the engineering degree.

Education has multiple purposes. Of course it is to make you a well rounded individual (that is why a broad liberal arts education should be emphasized). In addition it should serve to train you to make a useful contribution to society.

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Response to exboyfil (Reply #11)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 05:50 AM

80. Just to let you know.

Some of those local university courses will not count at the higher end colleges. Our children received credit for all their AP course but the two in top universities did not receive credit for any of their local college classes. Those courses were from Syracuse University.

My youngest who is going to a State University did receive credit for all her courses.

Sounds like your daughter has a wonderful future ahead of her.

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Response to aandegoons (Reply #80)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 12:03 PM

119. My daughter is planning on the University of Iowa

Every course transfers. I have met and discussed with Iowa prior to signing her up. Thanks for the heads up though.

It is an irony that Iowa does not do a very good job accepting AP credit (for example you need a 5 on the Chemistry AP for a semester credit in engineering). You cannot get out of the freshman requirement in Rhetoric no matter if you pass both AP English tests (you can get Literature credit towards satisfying a Humanities requirement). AP Calculus AB requires a 4 for credit for one semester of Calculus (you still get one semester credit with a 3 on Calculus BC). Several other AP classes are not used at all (such as Biology).

You are right that the AP courses are expected for entry into the more prestigious private colleges and they do not recognize community college, regional universities, and even flagship state universities in some cases. As far as I am concerned the privates are a rigged game, and I am not going to have my daughters waste their effort on them at the undergraduate level (graduate school is another thing). The perspective may be different on the coasts though. Our only top tier privates are about five hours from here (University of Chicago), and it does not offer engineering. I am not sure my daughter could get a high enough score on the ACT/SAT for serious consideration either. Her classroom performance has always outstripped the standardized testing.

I can't imagine any college not accepting credit from Syracuse which is an excellent university. Hope your kids are enjoying college.

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Response to exboyfil (Reply #119)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 01:54 PM

134. Congratulations, exboyfil, for figuring this out. Slowly, the word is getting out.

Take dual credit classes -- make sure they transfer to state universities.

Forget about AP -- as many as 40-60% of the students that take AP tests won't get credit.

Take REAL courses at REAL colleges while in high school (as long as they transfer).

The professors at REAL Colleges probably have better credentials anyway that a teacher teaching AP high school classes.

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Response to exboyfil (Reply #119)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 02:04 PM

135. Sounds like you have a much better handle on everything than we did.

We honestly did not know anything four years ago. We live in a very rural area and maybe one or two young adults make it to the top schools in about a 70 mile radius around us each year. It is the standardized testing which even allowed our children the chance of making it to where they did. Well that and their hard work.

Both my daughters seem to enjoy their respective schools and my son has graduated. One of our daughters will be doing her spring semester in Bologna Italy. Though I am not sure how we will afford it yet.

I certainly have found the whole thing quite intriguing. What counts and what doesn't and how much work the younger generation has to put into school now. It is quite a serious effort to make sure everything is on the right path when they enter high school. I wish we had put as much effort into understanding it all as you have.

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Original post)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 07:50 PM

13. Standardized testing is not only for AP kids and college bound kids. You start in 3rd grade in MA.

I was never impressed by the AP classes my oldest son took, as they were not that great and mostly aimed at taking the test. The worst was a French AP class where the teacher was not even able to speak French well, but she knew what was expected of an AP exam. We then limited the AP classes as we thought the Honors classes were better,

However, my heart breaks when these standardized tests are given to kids that are less academically savvy than my oldest son or the kid who wrote this article. They have to take a test which often only reflects how well they are prepared for the test, and not how well they can read in real world situations. Same goes for math. We are probably the only country in the world to test kids this way, and for which results?

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Original post)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 07:52 PM

15. Just to be clear: to get the AP credit, you must pass the AP test. Then you take the SAT.

Complaining about standardized testing may be a bit off base here, unless the kid didn't want his college creds.

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Response to Romulox (Reply #15)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 09:54 PM

36. True but irrelevant.

 

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #36)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 10:12 PM

40. 100% relevant. If the kid wants learning qua learning, AP class ain't the place.

Reality has to be a factor at some point. AP class has a specific purpose of providing a High School student with the opportunity to earn college credit.

As a part of this, they include an exit exam to ensure the child has earned those credits. It has always been thus.

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Response to Romulox (Reply #40)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 10:16 PM

41. AP classes are not -- or didn't use to be -- test prep classes. AP classes began

 

at elite colleges; you could do college work in HS and avoid 100-level course in college.

Yes, you took a test to show you understood the work -- BUT THE CLASSES WEREN'T TEST PREP, THEY WERE CLASSES WHERE YOU ACTUALLY DID THE SAME WORK AS YOU WOULD HAVE IN COLLEGE.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #41)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 12:52 AM

70. AP classes are held at high schools, not "elite colleges". You may be thinking of a different

program.

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Response to Romulox (Reply #70)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 01:12 AM

71. elite prep schools, i meant. no, i'm not thinking of another program.

 

The program was founded and pioneered at Kenyon College in Gambier Ohio, by the then college president Gordon Chalmers which was then referred to as the "Kenyon Plan." The first study was conducted by three prep schools—the Lawrenceville School, Phillips Academy and Phillips Exeter Academy—and three universities—Harvard University, Princeton University and Yale University. In 1952 they issued the report General Education in School and College: A Committee Report which recommended allowing high school seniors to study college level material and to take achievement exams that allowed them to attain college credit for this work.3] The second committee, the Committee on Admission with Advanced Standing, developed and implemented the plan to choose a curriculum. A pilot program was run in 1952 which covered eleven disciplines.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_Placement

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #71)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 01:24 AM

74. The wiki link does support the idea that those who fail to earn the credits are poorly served

by AP classes. That's not a surprise.

Research conducted by Philip M. Sadler and published in AP: A critical examination of the Advanced Placement program found that students who took AP courses in the sciences but failed the AP exam performed no better in college science courses than students without any AP course at all. Referring to students who complete the course but fail the exam, Sadler stated in an interview that "research shows that they don’t appear to have learned anything during the year, so there is probably a better course for them".

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Response to Romulox (Reply #15)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 01:46 PM

131. And in post #67 I list the score distributions. LOTS of students don't get college credit. nt

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Original post)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 08:04 PM

19. What were the essays about?

There were no AP classes when I was in high school (I don't know if that is a function of the time or the place), so I don't know what the questions are like. But the piece in the OP says, "instead of analyzing themes or characters our teacher would give us questions which we would have to write essays about in a 50 minute class period similar to what we would find on the AP Exam and in college classes."

The essays I wrote in college literature classes were about analyzing themes and characters. If the AP exam is similar than I am pleasantly surprised. When I opened the OP, I expected it to be about the multiple choice questions.

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Response to Orangepeel (Reply #19)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 10:07 PM

39. And they're essays in which you analyze themes and characters

I took English AP. I have no idea what this guy is talking about except it sounds like he wasn't up to the level required to do well in the course.

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Response to TheCruces (Reply #39)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 10:20 PM

44. the guy is saying that there wasn't any analysis of themes and characters in the class.

 

since you took ap english, not sure why you didn't get that. it's perfectly clear in the article.

and the article is a perfectly clear piece of writing, with only one questionable sentence.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #44)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 10:24 PM

46. I have a hard time believing him on that

Having taken the class, taken the practice tests in class, and did quite well on the actual exam.

The whole point of AP English Literature is analyzing themes and characters.

There's an AP English Composition class/exam, but that one wasn't offered at my HS, so I can't attest to what that covers specifically, but I know it's more rhetorical writing focused. Perhaps he took that one.

Also, given that article, his writing isn't up to the level needed in an AP English class. I know some high schools let anybody who wants to take AP classes take them, regardless of they actually belong in the class.

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Response to TheCruces (Reply #46)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 10:43 PM

53. that's a different issue. i think it would be an unusual class -- & a pretty useless

 

class -- if it was run that way.

BUT THAT'S APPARENTLY HIS BITCH. He says all they did was read something and write essays on assigned questions about the reading and (I infer, a reading skill) get graded on them as though they were AP exam essays, supposedly to prepare them for taking the AP exam.

And that's a TEST-PREP CLASS. Like any other test-prep class where all you do is practice doing problems like the ones that will be on the test, check your answers, and figure out what you did wrong (at least in the eyes of the test designers).

And getting a TEST-PREP CLASS instead of an actual AP english class doing college-style work is what he's complaining about.

it's also a really sucky way to learn to 'write'. actually, it's not a way to learn to write at ll, or even write better.

so i'm inclined to take him at his word.

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Response to TheCruces (Reply #46)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 04:07 AM

79. One hour of multiple choice; 2 hours of essays.

Last edited Mon Nov 19, 2012, 05:05 AM - Edit history (1)

http://www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/ap/english_lit/samp.html?englit


The multiple choice is kind of like literary analysis with training wheels. They give you a text to read and give you questions that would determine if you know the basics of how text is analyzed. For example (I'm not reproducing the text, you can find it at the link):

44. Which of the following best states the subject of the passage?
(a) The senselessness of ornamentation
(b) The development of modern machinery
(c) A popular revolt against methods of industrial production
(d) A change in the aesthetics of machine design
(e) The historical development of aesthetics

45. In context, which of the following changes to the sentence in lines 5–8,
reproduced below, would make it more parallel to the preceding sentences?
The tender was decorated with the arms of the Republic, a portrait of Ulysses S.
Grant, and a number of elaborate scrolls.
(a) Change “The tender” to “Its tender”
(b) Begin with “And thus”
(c) Change “The tender was decorated with” to “The decoration on the tender was”
(d) Begin with “Also Noteworthy,”
(e) Change “The tender was” to “The tender, in addition, was”


46. Which of the following is being referred to by the abstract term “characteristics”
(line 9)?
(a) “boiler, smokestack, valve boxes” (line 4)
(b) “The tender” (line 5)
(c) “a number of elaborate scrolls” (lines 7–8)
(d) “Steam engines” (line 9)
(e) “a printing press” (line 11)


47. The tone of lines 18–20 (“It is . . . creations”) can best be described as
(a) disbelieving
(b) uncertain
(c) objective
(d) exasperated
(e) relieved

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Response to JVS (Reply #79)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 06:11 AM

82. Can't help it, but this makes me think of National Lampoon's 1974 Stupid Aptitude Test

Nixon is to Republicans as ___________ is to _____________
a. Albatross/neck
b. Boil/neck
c. Noose/neck
d. Turd/swimming pool

Upon being harnessed to the cart, the _________ was ___________ to trot
a. Thoroughbred/eager
b. Nun/hot
c. Collaborator/persuaded
d. Messiah/too spaced out

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Response to JVS (Reply #79)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 09:29 AM

92. and a lot of the questions are poorly written. The student can make the case for several answers.nt

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Original post)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 08:42 PM

20. Japan is similar to this

Rote memorization ("cram school") is the basis of their learning, as opposed to critical thinking.

Asking your teacher/professor questions is considered rude and pushy.

I have no idea how kids in Japan learn anything. And the problem has made it to our shores now.

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Original post)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 08:51 PM

21. Hi Ankur

I'm over in Lawrence. Let me know if I can help. www.lightlyre.com

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Original post)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 08:56 PM

22. "Testing improves education the same way that bombing promotes democracy"



Steve Cohn, Education professor at Tufts University


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Response to jtuck004 (Reply #22)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 09:23 PM

25. Pretty much sums up American Education policy and Foreign policy

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Original post)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 09:29 PM

26. I think the entire AP system needs to be revisited.

Colleges don't like these classes. They don't see them as actually being "college level" courses. The view is that they are "high school plus." Some universities will not honor the grade you earn and some are now moving toward not even granting credit for them. In my opinion, these classes are at best glorified high school classes. I think there is a point to be made in that the AP curriculum is designed to be a cash cow for testing companies.

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Response to madaboutharry (Reply #26)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 11:08 PM

62. If your child can test out of a semester's worth of introductory level courses, it's worth it.

The cost of testing is trivial compared with a semester's cost at university.

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Response to FarCenter (Reply #62)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 09:27 AM

91. See post #67 for the score distribution on AP English. Low percentage of students will get credit.

Students are better off taking dual credit where you only have to pass the course.

AP depends upon how the student does on one morning. The students works his/her butt off the whole semester and everything boils down to ONE TEST ON ONE DAY.

Take dual credit, pass the class, get the credit -- assuming the college or university accepts it.

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Response to antigop (Reply #91)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 09:54 AM

96. With AP credits and a couple of summer sessions, my daughter got her BS in three years.

At which point she began work on her professional degree.

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Response to FarCenter (Reply #96)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 10:12 AM

98. Well good for her -- but at least 40% of the test takers won't get credit n/t

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Response to FarCenter (Reply #96)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 10:12 AM

99. And how much did she enjoy her high school years? How much stress was she under? n/t

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Response to antigop (Reply #99)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 10:35 AM

104. She had a ball, and she enjoyed a number of extracurricular activities and sports

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Response to FarCenter (Reply #104)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 10:37 AM

106. I'll bet she was under a tremendous amount of stress and she lost a year of her youth n/t

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Response to FarCenter (Reply #96)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 10:13 AM

100. She didn't even get her summers off. Sad. n/t

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Response to antigop (Reply #100)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 10:36 AM

105. College students have more time off than others who go to work out of high school and get 2 weeks.

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Response to FarCenter (Reply #105)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 10:38 AM

108. doesn't matter. She still didn't get summers off from school. n/t

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Response to FarCenter (Reply #96)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 10:23 AM

102. How wonderful...she lost a whole year of her youth as well. n/t

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Response to antigop (Reply #102)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 10:38 AM

107. Well, she spent another 3 years getting a professional degree -- does that count as youth?

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Response to FarCenter (Reply #107)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 10:38 AM

109. She would have had another year of her youth n/t

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Response to FarCenter (Reply #62)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 10:42 AM

111. I'll repeat --- at least 40% of the test takers did not get college credit. n/t

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Response to antigop (Reply #111)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 11:02 AM

113. A 60% chance of getting a college credit is worth about $1700, while the test costs $89.

College costs about $80K for four years. About 28 course credits are required for the BS. Therefore a credit is worth $2857.

At 60% probability of success, the expected value of testing out of the course is $1714.

http://apcentral.collegeboard.com/apc/public/exam/calendar/190165.html give test fee of $89.

It's a helluva lot better than putting $89 on the lottery!

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Response to FarCenter (Reply #113)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 11:12 AM

114. In what universe would a 40% failure rate be considered a good idea? n/t

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Response to antigop (Reply #114)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 11:18 AM

116. What percent of freshmen who try out for football make it to the varsity squad as seniors?

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Response to FarCenter (Reply #116)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 12:07 PM

120. LOL. Comparing academics to sports. Unreal. n/t

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Response to antigop (Reply #120)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 01:09 PM

124. Engineering schools often have attrition rates of 40% or above

Data show that the nine institutions vary dramatically in how well they retain engineering students over eight semesters, ranging from 66 percent to 37 percent.


http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090804114104.htm

And it's not like the English AP students failed their course, or that they failed to learn the subject -- they just didn't receive college credit. It is also the practice of some univesities to have multiple freshman English courses, and high school performance plus the universities own entrance placement tests result in a student's being eligible for a more or less challenging freshman English course.

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Response to FarCenter (Reply #124)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 01:37 PM

125. Has nothing to do with sports analogy. n/t

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Response to antigop (Reply #125)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 02:09 PM

136. Since you dismissed a sports analogy with academics, I replied with an academic analogy.

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Response to FarCenter (Reply #136)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 03:25 PM

147. A 40% failure rate is a pretty damned big failure rate. n/t

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Response to FarCenter (Reply #136)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 03:28 PM

148. Since you didn't answer the question, I'll ask it again...

In what universe is a 40% failure rate considered a good idea?

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Response to FarCenter (Reply #124)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 01:38 PM

126. As much as 60% of the students PAID FOR THE TEST and didn't get credit. FAIL n/t

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Response to antigop (Reply #126)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 01:41 PM

127. It's a scam. n/t

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Response to FarCenter (Reply #124)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 01:45 PM

130. Maybe because DIDN'T LEARN ANYTHING in the AP classes or are too burned out from them n/t

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Response to FarCenter (Reply #124)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 01:48 PM

132. 40% failure rate is still a failure. n/t

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Response to FarCenter (Reply #116)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 12:08 PM

121. And I still feel sorry for your daughter, losing a year of her youth, probably stressed out and lost

a lot of sleep.

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Response to FarCenter (Reply #116)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 12:47 PM

122. deleted ....posted in wrong place

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Response to FarCenter (Reply #113)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 11:14 AM

115. and it's only a 60% "CHANCE" -- even a score of "4" or "5" will not guarantee credit.

It's up to the college/university to decide whether to accept AP scores.

And they can change their policy at any time --- even after the student takes the test, but before the student enters the college.

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Response to madaboutharry (Reply #26)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 09:30 AM

93. See post #67 for the score distribution on AP English. Low percentage of students will get credit.

nt

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Response to madaboutharry (Reply #26)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 04:14 PM

152. It's not the grade you get in the AP class that gives you college credit,

but the score you get on the AP exam.

A surprising number of kids who take AP classes don't take the exams, either because they don't want to or can't afford to pay the fee for the exam, or they do not understand the importance of taking the exam, or just don't want to.

Both of my sons each took about 5 AP classes in high school and scored very well on the exams. It got them out of some of the basic classes when they went to college.

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Original post)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 09:41 PM

30. Teaching to take a test is not teaching

it's ONLY to get a good test score.
This is the future??

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Response to DiverDave (Reply #30)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 11:14 PM

64. This is the future?? No - it is already happening !!

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Original post)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 10:57 PM

59. So he became such a great thinker that he can't do well on AP exams?




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Response to aikoaiko (Reply #59)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 07:41 AM

88. he's in college, so apparently not.

 

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #88)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 09:11 AM

90. Doing well in AP classes is not a requirement for entry to college.


He wrote:

It frustrated me to no avail and I ended up doing very poor in AP English. And I found the exact same thing in all of my other AP classes, which seemed more focused on college preparation and standardized tests rather than genuine learning.


Anyone with great critical thinking skills should be master the mystery of AP classes and their exams.

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Original post)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 11:00 PM

60. Writing essays leads to greater rigor and organization of thought than discussion

<b>Meetings With Jeff Bezos May Start With 30 Minutes Of Silence</b>

For a company that's intensely involved in e-commerce, tech hardware, and even database software, the meetings of its top executives seem like something out of the 1950s:
Meetings of his "S-team" of senior executives begin with participants quietly absorbing the written word. Specifically, before any discussion begins, members of the team -- including Bezos -- consume six-page printed memos in total silence for as long as 30 minutes.

It's apparently something of a shock for new hires. Bezos told Fortune:
"They're just not accustomed to sitting silently in a room and doing study hall with a bunch of executives." Bezos says the act of communal reading guarantees the group's undivided attention. Writing a memo is an even more important skill to master. "Full sentences are harder to write," he says. "They have verbs. The paragraphs have topic sentences. There is no way to write a six-page, narratively structured memo and not have clear thinking."

An admirable commitment to literacy, especially for a company in the book business, and what also seems like good, if time consuming management practice.


Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/jeff-bezos-amazon-fortune-interview-2012-11

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Original post)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 11:11 PM

63. Learning to write an in-class essay is an important skill he'll need in college.

The only complaint-worthy thing I see here is that he didn't pick up that skill years beforehand. We spent most of junior high English doing plug and chug five paragraph essays until we could do them half asleep. At the time it was boring and I hated it, but in retrospect it's probably the most valuable time I spent in any class at any point in my academic career. Learning to write a properly structured essay in a class period saved my bacon in more classes than I care to count since. Needless to say being able to write quickly and coherently has proved useful out in the real world too.

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Original post)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 11:22 PM

67. AP is mostly just a cash cow for the testing company. Take a look at the score distribution here

Last edited Mon Nov 19, 2012, 10:58 AM - Edit history (2)

Colleges usually require a score of a "4" or a "5" to get credit.

Here is the score distribution for the AP English Language exam (usually taken junior year in high school)
http://apcentral.collegeboard.com/apc/public/repository/ap12_engl_lang_ScoringDist.pdf

Less than a third of the students who took the test got a "4" or a "5".

Here is the score distribution for the AP English Literature exam (usually taken senior year in high school)
http://apcentral.collegeboard.com/apc/public/repository/2011_EngLit_Score_Dist.pdf
About 1/4 of the students got a "4" or a "5".

It stinks. People are forking out money, thinking their kids are going to get college credit, and the reality is, most of them will not get any credit.

There needs to be FULL DISCLOSURE on the pass rate for these exams. The high schools need to tell the parents that most will not get credit.


<edit to add>Even if you throw in the number of students who get a "3" (there are some universities that will take a "3", but not many, in my experience), 40% of students would not get credit for AP English Language because they got a "1" or a "2".

Over 40% got a "1" or a "2" on AP English Lit.



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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 01:22 AM

73. This is supposed to be a horror story?

A horror story is when you're poor and you have to work late the night before the SAT and you're exhausted and you get a 1000 and it's not enough to get a scholarship so your choices are vastly diminished.

That's a horror story.

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Response to XemaSab (Reply #73)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 02:44 AM

77. In fairness to the author, the word 'horror' appears to have been

 

contributed by the WaPo editor (perhaps hoping the shock value would help boost circulation?).

The original piece appears to have been published in a blog:

http://listenthefilm.wordpress.com/2012/11/06/who-am-i-and-why-should-you-care-about-this-silly-documentary/

The WaPo's Education editor picked up the piece and re-published it (whence the OP excerpts derive).

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Response to coalition_unwilling (Reply #77)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 07:44 AM

89. good catch. invalidates some of the other criticisms made, as his audience wasn't

 

the readers of the washington post. rather, it was students or educators in similar situations.

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 05:54 AM

81. I think standardized testing is being misused.

Though certainly not at the AP or college entrance level.

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 06:14 AM

83. standardized tests are imperfect and unfair,

however we have to have some way to assess competency so until someone comes up with something better....

The AP English is actually a pretty good test--because the rigorous written portion is a better way of judging capabilities than some other methods.

And doing well on tests (of whatever type) is part of the game you have to play to do well in college. If this kid wants to do well there--he is going to have to accept that.

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 09:41 AM

95. In what universe would a 40% failure rate be considered a good idea? See post #67.

Last edited Mon Nov 19, 2012, 10:57 AM - Edit history (1)

Even though a lot of universities require a "4" or a "5" to get credit, a "3" is considered "passing".

But a grade of "3" will not get the student credit in a lot of schools.

The score distributions in post #67 show that 40% or more of the students did NOT get a "passing" grade of "3" or higher.


edit: Add link to post #67
http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1002&pid=1847342

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 12:49 PM

123. The teen in the OP needs to view the documentary "Race to Nowhere"

http://www.schoolsmatter.info/2010/01/new-documentary-race-to-nowhere.html

In 2008, 2.3 million AP exams were given in the U. S., which put $190,900,000 into the coffers of the College Board. And as family budgets shrink, along with the amount that colleges have to offer the needed number of classes for undergraduates, the AP exam seems poised to, indeed, replace many college freshman courses that offer real learning to students. Trading real coursework for cram courses that prepare students to take a test and forget it will have dire consequences, however, when it comes the important job of transmitting our culture to the next generation.

A new documentary, Race to Nowhere, examines this spreading phenomenon of AP classes replacing real learning. Here is a clip posted originally posted at the New York Times on Jan. 25:

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Response to antigop (Reply #123)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 01:43 PM

129. I feel sorry for the kids whose parents force them to put up with this stress. n/t

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 01:42 PM

128. Carlin:

"They want a population educated enough to run the machines but too dumb to realize they are being fucked over."

He was right.

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Response to SomethingFishy (Reply #128)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 01:49 PM

133. +100 n/t

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 03:46 PM

150. If a teacher gave a test and 40-60% of the students failed the test....

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