Standardized Testing Essay

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Kenyatta Day Dr. Swensen ENGL 123 P22 12/6/2011 As Jay Mathews, in his article “Just Whose Idea Was All This Testing,” reported, standardized testing has been used in the American education system for the past two centuries. During this time, the format of standardized testing questions has changed; up until World Wars II, standardized tests were administered in open-end or essay format. The change in format came about because educators needed a quick and efficient way for testing students. Educators felt that there was not time to be leisurely. Mathews says, “…several members of the board, during a previously scheduled lunch, decided that the outbreak of world war would require faster decisions and less leisurely testing. They eventually canceled the board's old exam format. The SAT ruled”, (the SAT was the multiple-choice format of evaluating students college readiness). The change has brought up several disputes on the efficiency of the multiple choice format of standardized tests. Educators and parents began to question if standardized testing truly tests the knowledge of students or it is just teaching American students how to test. In this essay I will rhetorically analyze Mathews’ negative view of standardized testing. Mathews analyzes the history of standardized testing and how the changes that have been made to the test have negatively affected students. Mathews feels that multiple choice standardized testing is holding students back from thinking and solving problems. He compares his theory to Socrates, an ancient Greek philosopher. Mathews says, “Socrates tested his students through conversations. Answers were not scored as right or wrong. They just led to more dialogue” (Mathews). This statement shows the logos in the author’s article, the dialogue was a chain of reasoning. Having open-ended questions would create an environment for

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