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Sun Nov 18, 2012, 07:20 PM

One teenís standardized testing horror story (and where it will lead) [View all]

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

This film isnít 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 Iíve 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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