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Running into Walls

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Morning to you all~ I will be your narrator/creepy invisible voice on the set of “Duh! Even I Knew That!” on this superb-a-fabulous Monday. My name is Suomy Nona and today, we will be doing an exposé on walls, but more specifically, why people keep ramming head-first into them. Sad problem really, as it is a totally preventable “condition.” However, when people don’t look ahead, we can’t expect them to see much now, can we?

As always, a disclaimer from our sponsors: Please be aware that you may experience a wide range of emotions while viewing, including but not limited to anger, frustration, confusion, euphoria, and/or aghast. If you are prone to overreactions, please watch responsibly, preferably with family members or friends who will know how to respond should an “incident” occur. In the event that no one is available to assist you in your viewing experience, stuffed animals and/or pillows make ideal substitutes. As always, a general feeling of disorientation is to be expected. Please do not be discouraged or begin to pull out hairs before three-and-a-half-quarters of the program has elapsed, as enlightenment may only dawn upon you in the final minutes of the show. Thank you.

For those new to our show, our exposés always end up opposite of perpendicular from their starting points. At the beginning of this hour, we begin with “running into walls.” Now we screen thousands of videos, voicemails, emails, texts, and letters for responses to this broad topic before deciding the path of evolution this content will take. Let us not waste more time. Meet our first participant, Noberta Ridgeback, and see what she had to say about barricades.
* * *
Norberta Ridgeback’s Video Submission

Hi everyone! My name is Noberta and I’m a fifth grader. I go to school at O-Dull Elementary School. On the topic of stone blocks and violent human contact with them, I must say the first thing I thought of did not actually involve a physical block, believe it or not. The first thing that popped into my mind was a test, more specifically standardized tests. I’ve always felt that these tests stood in the way of many things, but first, more about me.

When I was in Kindergarten, I was identified as a gifted and talented student. Of course it was only Kindergarten, so I did get to spend most of the time in class with the rest of my friends. There was only so much you can do in Kindergarten. But, instead of having to sit for hours on end attempting to color inside the humongous black lines (that clearly indicated where one should stop), I got to go to the library and spend time with books. By third grade, I was spending half of my week in a special classroom with other gifted students learning more advanced materials. I mean I love it, it’s great; our program director even built in an independent study hour for us. However, it’s springtime, so I’m stuck in the regular classroom again, doing test-prep!

Now let me tell you, hitting a thorn on the stem of a rose hurts. So does taking standardized math and reading tests. Now, I know I sound just like any other whiny kid who just doesn’t want to take exams, but I actually think that this is a serious problem. I think it’s disruptive in my education, it puts unnecessary pressure on students, and it essential put labels on students based on their achievement results. The tests themselves aren’t even that great. The state keeps sending us tests that ask us what two plus two equals. To pass the tests, I usually don’t use half the material we cover during that school year. This frustrates me so much! I don’t see any reasons why these tests are necessary or why they take such an important position in American schools today. These tests are like walls. Running into them around the corner of every school year hurts. Excruciatingly…Gosh, I sure hope that was a word. Bye!
* * *

Alright-y folks, welcome back from our short commercial break, sponsored by Eyes are for Seeing! Look at that! I guess today’s segment won’t be that perplexing after all. But if you still haven’t gotten the hints, snoozed through Norberta’s video clip, or simply had an out-of-body experience for the past ten minutes, hopefully the next clip will deliver you to your enlightened destination.
* * *
Lunch in the teachers’ lounge/behind closed walls
Mr. Bob: The weather’s nice outside today. Whatcha talking about so animatedly over there?
Mrs. Applebee: Oh, nothing much, just doing what our kids think we do with our free time. They assume we have no lives.
Mr. Clover: Today, my kids asked me if all we do is gossip about our students at lunch.
Mrs. Applebee: What ever gave them that idea? They probably think we only exist to torture them. But I must say, some of the complaints I get—they make my day! Makes me feel like I’m doing my job right.
Ms. Doom : Actually, last night, a student emailed me a link. It was a page full of definitions of the word “homework.” I now know that my kids go on urbandictionary.com to procrastinate. You guys should check it out. Some of the definitions there….hmmm….
Mr. Clover: So today, we were working on some test prep, and Anoyed asked me if I liked giving them practice tests.
Mr. Edde: You’re kidding! That’s hilarious. What did you say? You didn’t tell her you liked your curriculum, did you?
Mr. Clover : Of course I didn’t tell her I like my curriculum. In fact, I really don’t like it at all. I remember when I was still teaching in Ohio. They told me to teach my students, and there was a test at the end of the year. And that was it—no strings, no instructions, nothing. It was great. Six years later, I was then teaching in California, I remember this whole roller coaster ordeal that was making its way through the state. I mean, it was crazy. California decided to give tests, and I don’t just mean tests, I mean the big bad ones from the state. And boy, were they terrible tests! It was absolutely ridiculous and chaotic: “course outlines had to be rewritten showing how every aspect of every class related to the standards. We adopted a textbook anthology that provided teachers with discussion questions, worksheets, and tests all tied directly to California’s content standards and we were encouraged to use these resources to ensure that we were meeting the standards”. It was hectic for awhile there…I really don’t want to live through that again.
Ms. Gobb : I mean I remember when I was a student teacher. It wasn’t that long ago, but it was those first few years when the government decided to standardized the tests and the objectives and give all these kids these “monumental” tests. The only thing I remember clearly was “no matter how successful [I] had become in developing [my] own lessons, most of [us] student teachers were required to shift gears completely in the weeks leading up to the spring standardized tests, abandoning literature and authentic writing assessments in lieu of isolated lessons on test preparation” Trust me, it was like the will and motivation all but went out in the kids’ minds.
Mrs. Figgs : As long as I have been in education, and I can assure you, it’s been a very long time, I’ve never seen such a terrible plan for these kids’ futures as I do now. Nowadays, “department meetings, staff meetings, and staff development days focused not on how to better meet the student needs, but on how to better meet the content standards and their accompanying tests, apparently assuming that these two very different goals were actually one and the same.” I don’t understand where these high-and-mighty big guys from the states think they’re getting their information. In fact, I highly suspect they don’t research because if you ask me, no teacher in their right mind would sacrifice students’ needs for test scores. They’re just numbers for crying out loud!
Mrs. Applebee: Calm down Mrs. Figgs. We all get what you’re saying here. Now if only we can get the state and government to do something about it…Unfortunately, lunch break is over.
Mr. Clover: Well, wasn’t that ironic. We were gossiping about our kids after all!
* * *

Well, that was a long clip, wasn’t it? Hope no one zoned out! I don’t think we need a third clip before we can discuss this topic, but our producers insist that we assist our viewers in their comprehension to the best of our ability. So here is the third and final clip. At this point, if you are experiencing headaches, migraines, or other bodily pains, chances are, you are still running into walls (the WRONG ones). Our producers recommend that you use your thumbs and index fingers to keep your eyes open, preferably as wide as two centimeters. However, if you are of the Asian persuasion, you may not be able to widen them as far as the two centimeters. As always, blink when necessary, and enjoy.
* * *
I’m-one-of-those-people-from-the-state-who-walks-around-campus-on-test-days’s video
Why does this job even exist? It is clear that the teachers have been drilled twice-too-many times; they probably know the procedures better than I do. All the online modules and training they’ve done was probably excessive (and a waste of money). And what for? To get even MORE practice for things they already do in their classrooms? What a waste of resources!
The last time I spoke to my boss, Dr. Obli Veeous, I got the same lecture for the 477th time. The doctor firmly believed that standardized testing will be the solution to the nation’s failing education. After all, the No Child Left Behind Act has plowed the land already. The hard work is done. The only left to do is to sow the seed. To plant success into every child in the state. To shower them with standardized tests. To watch them grow as their scores grow.
Accountability, Accountibility, Accountibility. Dr. Obli Veeous’s favorite word. Dr. Obli Veeous explained this to me several times already, but I just don’t get it. Testing is important; it shows us what we need to do to help the students. We can analyze their strengths and weaknesses. We can allocate funding to programs that are in serious need of help. We can start up new programs to boost areas where students are struggling. Standardized tests are valuable tools. The students need them to know that they’re learning in school, not just wasting hours a week in school. Parents need to know if their children are going to succeed in the real world. Educators need to know what they’re teaching is making sense to their kids. And legislators, well, they need to know if they’re doing their job right. They design the tests as tools, not torture devices. While they may be slightly unpleasant, the tests are extremely vital. That’s what they told me when I started working here. Thing is, I’m not sure I ever got the truth.
As I’m staring through the windows at these kids taking the exams, all I see are “V’s” carved between their eyes. Their expressions range from disinterested to frustrated to zonked out. I’m almost afraid to look at these test scores. But more importantly though, do the tests work? Do they really tell us what we need to know about our nation’s educational system? Or are they just pointless tests? Can they be fixed, or would it be more efficient to simply scrap they system and start from scratch?
I’m not sure I like my job. I pretty much just run from place to place to make sure protocol is being followed. And every year, at least one teacher decides to drop a brick wall right in front of me as I’m running around. If you’ve never ran into a wall, don’t.
* * *

Well then, wasn’t that an interesting clip. The man himself sounded confused. From what we’ve been able to gather, his name is Seethe Mayhem. He works closely with legislators and the people who design standardized tests. His ‘single’ status at age 43 appears to be a byproduct of the line of work he is currently in (public opinion isn’t too high right now). Unfortunately, Mr. Mayhem is far too good at his job; of the six transfers he has requested in the past five years, all of them have been denied on the basis that no suitable replacement has been found at the time of request.

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for having stayed with us thus far. We will now be taking a short break. When we return, our in-depth coverage of our exposé “Running into Walls” will begin. We will be back after these short messages.
* * *

Welcome back everyone! Hopefully, “things” have cleared up since we convened here this morning. The “walls” we will be examining today are none other than our newly used toys of the decade, standardized tests. The people who continues running into them? Well, let’s just say that everyone has been running into them. So without further ado, let’s take evasive action. It’s time to stop meeting the walls heads-on.

Oops, before we start once again, for those of you just joining us right now, we are about to enter our analytical segment of the program. We’ve heard from the public across the nation. Now, it’s time to hear what our expert population has to say.

For the analytical ones, exhibit A:
Average reading scale score, by age, sex, and race/ethnicity: Selected years, 1971 to 2008
Sex and race/ethnicity
1971
1975
1980
1984
1990
1994
1999
2004
2008
9-year-olds
Total
208
210
215
211
209
211
212
216
220
Sex
Male
201
204
210
207
204
207
209
212
216
Female
214
216
220
214
215
215
215
219
224
Race/ethnicity
White
2141
217
221
218
217
218
221
224
228
Black
1701
181
189
186
182
185
186
197
204
Hispanic
(2)
183
190
187
189
186
193
199
207
13-year-olds
Total
255
256
258
257
257
258
259
257
260










Sex
Male
250
250
254
253
251
251
254
252
256
Female
261
262
263
262
263
266
265
262
264
Race/ethnicity
White
2611
262
264
263
262
265
267
265
268
Black
2221
226
233
236
241
234
238
239
247
Hispanic
(2)
232
237
240
238
235
244
241
242
17-year-olds
Total
285
286
285
289
290
288
288
283
286










Sex
Male
279
280
282
284
284
282
281
276
280
Female
291
291
289
294
296
295
295
289
291
Race/ethnicity
White
2911
293
293
295
297
296
295
289
295
Black
2391
241
243
264
267
266
264
262
266
Hispanic
(2)
252
261
268
275
263
271
267
269
Table 1. Reading scores from 1971 to 2008. Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics.


The table above provides the public with information regarding the performance of American students on reading tests going back to 1971 . The filtering of data by age, sex, and race/ethnicity is reflective of one of the initiatives the No Child Left Behind Act introduced in 2001. Though analyzing such a large amount of data is a tedious process, the “disaggregation of scores would ensure that every group’s progress was monitored, not hidden in an overall average” (Ravitch 97). Even though this only makes the table more confusing, it would be unwise to draw conclusions from the chart without looking each component of the scores.

Overall, the table does show that there have been improvements in the scores from 1971 to 2008 in almost every single category. However, it is extremely important to notice that while improvements have been made, the magnitude of the change is notably insignificant in a period of approximately 40 years. Another crucial point the table illustrates is the fact that the achievement gap between racial groups, especially between African Americans and whites, is still quite large. Even though the gap did shrink in this period, whites are consistently scoring better on reading tests.

The trends that this table present support arguments that the No Child Left Behind Act actually has not achieved much in the past decades. The notable achievement gap continues to pose a problem, and the accountability system that NCLB endorses is not exactly producing desirable results. However, the conclusions drawn from this table should not be exaggerated. The NCLB has only been in effect for the past decade, and this table covers test scores back to 1971. The fact that the scores are not improving much should not take away from the fact that the scores did indeed improve. The main point to take away from the chart is that while the educational system in the United States is producing positive results, there is still a long way ahead to close the achievement gap between ethnic/racial groups as well as significantly boosting scores.
* * *

We are sorry to briefly interrupt your programming, but our producers have an emergency disclaimer to broadcast. Please stay with us. Disclaimer: The next three segments contain information that some may find to be “disagreeable”. If you are prone to overreaction, stubbornness, or are always right, please be cautious and view at your own discretion. The presentations will continue on Laser-Point. If you cannot stand lasers, looking at lasers, being near lasers, or have never been able to stay awake through a regular PowerPoint, please simply move your eyes away from the screen and proceed to listen carefully. Thank you.
* * *
For the students—you can’t escape reality

It is understandable for students to be upset and frustrated in schools, especially around the annual standardized testing week . Many students wonder why they should be required to take such a lengthy battery of tests when they do not directly benefit from such high-stake testing. The New York Times reported that “5100 15-year-olds in Shanghai outperformed students from about 65 countries on an international standardized test that measured math, science and reading competency” (Barboza). A representative from the school noted that the students and teachers focus mainly on “discipline, rote learning and obsessive test preparation” (Barboza). Unfortunately, that same article reported that the United States scored as low as 31st in one of those categories. So, the question for students today became: why is the United States not doing as well as China when the two obviously take the same approach to education?

The answer can only be speculated in this matter. One important factor is motivation, and that is tied into the discipline aspect the Chinese value so highly. The Chinese, also orienting their curriculum around testing, provides their children with intensive academic training that other countries “rarely” see. More importantly, however, Chinese students push themselves to achieve higher standards. American children lack the discipline, and thus the self-motivation that is needed to be successful on an international level. However, placing the blame on the students only would be unfair, as they can only be responsible for their own actions. The other reason why the U.S. is not performing as well as China even though they both focus on testing is the fact that the Chinese curriculum is simply more challenging—their work load more demanding, their method of teaching more geared towards critical thinking skills . The idea behind this method is that if a student can do problems that are harder than the ones that will appear on the tests, they will inevitably ace the tests. With results like these, the Chinese are clearly right in that respect.

For American students, simply raising the standards up to the level of the Chinese will not solve the problem. As seen in Andrew Clements’s The Report Card, for most of the students, the few high-stakes standardized tests they are required to take would have already taken a toll on their psychological and emotional states. The problem with using test scores as a measure of a student’s aptitude or achievement is that it brands the student with a number. After the first few years of standardized testing, these numbers become ingrained in each student’s mind as a measure of how intelligent he or she is. Stephen, a character in the novel, has low self-esteem and thinks of himself as a “below-average” kid because he cracks under the pressure that high stakes tests impose. What is more important is the fact that Stephen places a psychological limit on his own potential, that he will never be able to score any higher than a certain number. On the other hand, Nora, and exceptional genius with a huge IQ score, deliberately does poorly on standardized tests to assert the point that these tests do not accurately measure intelligence or achievement. While this is only a fictional novel, the situation it presents may be true at any moment in time. Students do crack under pressure, and high-stakes tests only exacerbate the problem. Students who may not have performed well on previous tests lose the motivation to try to get a better score, especially if they feel these test scores are a measure of their intelligence.

To a student, this is a serious problem that presents itself every year. Students who do perform well can still only regurgitate, not apply. Students who perform poorly continue to perform poorly, especially if the teacher is only motivated to “teach to the test.” When students receive some form of “punishment” for not meeting the standards that only adds to the growing resentment of these abominable tests.

For the parents—for whom accountability matters most

Parents love their children. That is a fact.

But it is because they love their children so much that they are giving themselves headaches. They care too much to simply let things go when it comes to their sweethearts and angels. They are the ones fighting for the quality of their children’s education. If they are not the one doing it, who will?

The complaints from parents appear to have exponentially increased in the past few years. With Shanghai students placing first on an international level, their dissatisfaction with education under the NCLB can only be expected. Even without the global competition, guardians would still clamor for changes to the system that is mostly rote-memorization and high-stakes testing. In this regard, they are absolutely correct in concluding that standardized education has had more negative impacts on students than any benefits their children might have received.

At the top of the list to be placed on the chopping blocks: teachers. When students do not perform well, the first place to put the blame is on the teacher and bad teaching. Parents appear to have a love-hate relationship with standardized tests. They love it, because it holds someone accountable for their children’s education (most of the time, this falls on the teachers’ shoulders). A student’s test score can translate to a teacher’s teaching score. If an entire classroom received low standardized tests scores, it stands to reason that the teacher is performing poorly, and thus the students will naturally follow in that failure. Today, “almost no one believes the teacher quality provisions of NCLB are helping elevate the teaching profession, or ensuring that the most challenged students get their fair share of the best teachers. More and more, teachers, parents, and union and business leaders want a real definition of teacher effectiveness based on multiple measures, including student growth, principal observation and peer review” (Duncan). Unfortunately, monitoring student growth will require that more standardized tests are given, which only perpetuate the cycle of “teaching to the test” rather than providing a more well-rounded education. Thus, the only platform on which parents support standardized testing essentially put the teachers on the chopping blocks.

The other half of the relationship, the hate for standardized testing, comes with concern for their children’s mental well-being as well as their future. According to a Newsweek article titled “The Creativity Crisis,” there is a clear and significant decrease in creativity scores in America today. The nation’s industrial and political leaders are also concerned due to the fact that “all around us are matters of national and international importance that are crying out for creative solutions ” (Bronson). Standardized testing greatly hinders the critical thinking process, favoring just one process to arrive at one correct solution. This problem is even more exacerbated in the classroom when teachers only teach the test and nothing else. Students lose the ability to think unconventionally, and as a result, essentially lose practice of critical application skills. Furthermore, as the curriculum themselves become more standardized and packed with new objectives, time for creative activities and lessons in the classroom gets cut out of the schedule. Newsweek continues on to report that standardized education in the status quo can only worsen the problem. Clearly, the parents are doing well in speaking up and calling for more sweeping educational reforms.

For legislators—to whom the complaints are addressed

Legislators obviously have the short end of this stick. Just simply looking at a summary of the NCLB Act, it is clear why nothing has been achieved in the past decade. However, before ripping the idea of nationalized education to shreds and torching it, it is only fair to look at what little it has achieved. Its most outstanding accomplishment is the creation of an accountability system. Even though the system has many flaws, it essentially puts America on the path of change. Without all the standardized test scores and data gathered thus far, it would have been almost impossible to see that education in the United States was simply failing. No one can fix a problem unless a problem has been identified. Unfortunately in this case, the number of failures discovered has reached catastrophic proportions.

One failure comes from the “vagueness” of the NCLB. Its accountability plan stated that “all states were expected to choose their own tests…, and decide for themselves how to define ‘proficiency’” (Ravitch 97). The problem is that the standards change from state to state and thus the quality of education varies across the nation. More importantly, when states are left to choose their own tests and define their own standards, no “universal” idea of what a good education should consist of exists. When combined with the requirement to “establish timelines showing how 100 percent of their students would reach proficiency in reading and mathematics by 2013-2014,” one can see that states are free to design any type of educational program they wish (97). Here, accountability works against achieving higher standards of learning. Because there are consequences for schools and districts that do not meet “adequate yearly progress” (AYP), many schools and districts simply lower the standards to show the improvement from one year to the next. Students lose out on a good education as they are no longer required to challenge themselves to achieve a higher goal.

Unfortunately, even if NCLB was to fix all its other problems, it would still need to make fundamental changes to the way it views and interprets test scores before any real results could occur. According to Diane Ravitch, “NCLB assumes that accountability based solely on test scores will reform American education. This is a mistake. A good accountability system must include professional judgment, not simply a test score, and other measures of students’ achievement, such as grades, student work…” (163). The problem with simply drawing conclusions based off of test scores is that it ignores the differences in population between the schools and other sampling variations. The proportion of minorities and ESL students in one school may be significantly higher than the school eight miles away. To punish a school already in need of help only hurts the students more. In then end, even though the tests are “standardized”, the conditions under which students who are taking the test may not be. While test scores may offer some indication of achievement level of a student population in that school, they are definitely not exact measures nor are they guaranteed to be an accurate reflection of the quality of the school. The fact that the NCLB is such an encompassing piece of legislature makes it difficult to be flex and bend to tend to the needs of American educational institutions. When entire schools are being left behind, how can anyone say no child will be left behind?
* * *

Thank you to all the viewers who have tuned in thus far. Our final segment of the broadcast, “Avoiding the Wall,” will begin right after this short break.
* * *
For everyone else—tagging on for the ride

Standardized testing has been and probably will continue to be a hotly debated topic in the near future. While the topic may appear simple on the surface, the folds underneath are nothing less than intricate. The inherent nature of the educational system in the United States today is essentially the root of all its problems. Because of the fact that it is national, that it encompass the entire population of the United States, standardized education have been criticized as ineffective, if not harmful to students’ educational experience. It is clear that changes are needed, but what of types of changes are even worth considering in the first place?

Rewinding to the beginning of the segment, remember that the topic is about walls and people who ram into walls. If one assumes this perspective, it simplifies some of the problems without oversimplifying the solutions. If the topic is about walls and the runners who hit the walls, then there are only two factors that can be helped: the walls and/or the people. It would only be logical then, to attempt to change either one or both, and see if that will produce a desirable result.

First off, to fix the walls. The problem with the walls is the core of the arguments. After all, without the walls, they would be nothing to run into. However, making the walls disappear outright is absolutely impossible. Here, the legislators win the point that there must be some sort of accountability system there to ensure that students are indeed receiving a proper education. Thus, the walls stay (in some form at the very least). But perhaps the parents and students also make a good point. If the wall is completely solid and impermeable, that means all the testing does nothing directly for the students and the students go nowhere. Something to consider would be drilling through the wall to install a door, a point of access to things beyond the walls. For legislators, it simply means redesigning the tests to adhere to better standards, focusing more on testing the students’ ability to reason and think critically rather than testing the students’ ability to regurgitate memorized information. By raising the standards of the tests, students would be required to push themselves harder in schools to meet those standards. Accountability will be achieved on all sides if unmotivated teachers can no longer simply “teach to the test.” Students can no longer simply “learn for the test.” If a door can be made, then perhaps students can be successful beyond the scope of the wall. Instead of simply running into a wall and making no intellectual progress, there is now room to grow.

The other minor problem with the walls can be easily fixed. Another problem lies in the fact that there are too many walls. The walls continue appear right in front of everyone’s eyes. Every year, it seems as if new tests and evaluations are placed on the schedule. Too many walls only create a claustrophobic atmosphere for the students who already feel trapped in between all the testing. It puts unnecessary pressure on students that may affect their test scores dramatically. Fortunately, the solution to this minor problem is also simple—demolish a portion of the walls. It would be better to administer a small battery of high-quality tests than to administer a mountain of poor-quality tests anyhow. The tests are the measuring tools; if the tools are appropriate for measuring student achievement, then the results will more accurately reflect the reality of any situation. Once the walls have been fixed, many of the criticisms of standardized testing should disappear as well.

Fixing the walls was only the first step; people must also stop running into them. Students, parents, teachers, legislators—everyone has been running to walls because no one is looking ahead to steer clear of the obstacle. Obviously, for some obstruction, it might be impossible to completely avoid it, but in those cases, the ability to determine where is the safest place to hit the wall is crucial. Under the status quo, everyone is simply setting their speed on high and their engine in drive. A common saying is to “attack the tests,” where parents, teachers, and legislators all nudge and push their students to do their best on the standardized tests. However, at that point, the focus in school is no longer on receiving a well-rounded education but rather receiving a full course on how to pass standardized exams. Now is the time to learn how to steer, to not simply be motivated by the tests, but motivated to learn. To learn to steer is not simply to “learn the test,” it is to learn skills that can be applied to the tests, but more importantly, after the tests. The target of every lesson should not be aimed at the walls and their tests; it should be aimed at finding a safe place to move past that wall of limitations.

The problem with the United States educational system can only be solved if both sides make a commitment to change. Even if the quality of the tests improves and the standards are raised, if teachers and students are unmotivated, test scores will continue to show failures. Vice-versa, if teachers and students make a commitment to teach and learn beyond the tests, but the tests are still of poor-quality, the scores will reflect the poorness of the tests, not of the students and teachers. In other words, if change is necessary and change can happen, so what else is there to do but change?
* * *

And that brings us to the conclusion of our segment. Today, we have discussed in-depth the painful issue of people running into walls. Thank you for being here with us today. We hope that everyone has had an excellent viewing experience. At this point in time, if you are still feeling confused, you may call the Help-Me-Understand Hotline scrolling at the bottom of your screen. If you are unconscious right now due to any number of reasons, we would like to thank you for staying (awake) with us for as long as you could. This is Suomy Nona, saying good day!
Works Cited
Average reading scale score, by age, sex, and race/ethnicity: Selected years: 1971 and 2008.
Statistics chart. National Center for Educational Statistics, 2010. Web. 24 Jan. 2011.
Barboza, David. “Shanghai Schools’ Approach Pushes Students to Top of Tests.” New York
Times 30 Dec. 2010. A4 (L). Gale Student Resources in Context. Web. 24 Jan. 2011.
Bronson, Po and Ashley Merryman. “The Creativity Crisis.” Newsweek. N.p. 10 July 2010.
Web. 9 Nov. 2010.
Clements, Andrew. The Report Card. New York: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers,
2004. Print.
Duncan, Arne. “School reform: A chance for bipartisan governing.” The Washington Post. N.p.
03 Jan. 2011. Web. 24 Jan. 2011.
Montgomery, Rob. “Education: Standards and assessments in practice.” World and I. Feb. 2010.
Gale Student Resources in Context. Web. 24 Jan. 2011.
Ravitch, Diane. The death and life of the great American school system: how testing and choice
are undermining education. New York: Basic Books, 2010. Print.



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