Sunday, October 15, 2006

The "gap"

I apologize for the delay in posting this:

We read in class about the gap in math scores on state tests. In more affluent communities the scores are higher and in high-need communities the scores are lower. We also began to explore the controversial issue of “language”. As a class we acknowledged the social vs. “test” of academic language.

What are we supposed to do with this information? If there is discrimination in the system, how can we as 18 yr olds do something about this? What responsibility do state legislators have to close this gap? What seems to be the real issue here?

Carolina summed of the conversation at the end of class exquisitely by stating,

“The government either has to change the parents, change the tests, or retrain the teachers.”

Are there any other options?

For those of you that want more insight check out Jonathan Kozol's book Savage Inequalities (excerpted here)


Zoimanzanita said...

The whole educative system should change, beggining with teacher's formation and perfomance.
If the person in charge of teaching is more close to incompetence than to the figure of authority in knowledge, then, we're going nowhere.

Peter said...

Standardized tests are not always the best answer. They don’t really show how intelligent a child is. In class we were talking about how language plays a major role in a student’s performance, I feel that this is true. The scenario that Mr. Brown gave us in class was a perfect example. He said that if we were taught English all our life and then went to Germany to take a test that was in German we really wouldn’t do that good. That doesn’t necessarily mean that were dumb. We just didn’t no the language. If the scores in wealthy neighborhoods vary greatly with the scores in a poorer neighborhood, then there is a problem. Since the students in affluent neighborhoods are scoring higher on the standardized tests, then the students from the poorer neighborhoods aren’t being taught well enough. I think that the real issue is on poverty. I think something along the lines of what zoimansanita said is good.

nyshee said...

if u do standardized test that really doesnt show how smart people are really are. in class when mr brown taught in class if a english is or life and german and you take a test u wouldnt be good at the test at all.standard tests isnt all that good for the low income places where people live because the students arent into the the high talking into the test and that the kids that was high into the test they will pass it

vishnell said...

In class today we learned what Mr. Brown said is the social language and school language. These 2 languages being the result of how children do on the standardize tests that are given out. I agree with these two languages and how it affects students in the affluent communities that have higher scores on tests and in high-need communities that have lower scores.

The students that are usually from the lower class neigborhoods are the ones who arent “amercanized” meaning they are usually the ones who speak a second language at home and english wasn’t there first language. Growing up at home and hearing a different language and speaking a different way then in school is what you would call the social language. It’s a language you are used to and you have become acustom too. When going into school it’s a completely different enviornment and a whole new language which is the school language. Students that grow up speaking engligh at home and learn how to speak the school language are usually the kids from the better neighborhoods because their parents are the ones who also mastered the school language and raised their families in better neighborhoods.

I feel as if though all this falls into race. The white kids are the ones who really know the school language. They are the ones who have had english as a first language and been able to learn everything because of their parents. People of different race are usually the ones who have parents that also have trouble speaking english themselves. For them it is hard to speak the school langauge, be able to take this test and understand the way it is written. It is not fair to these kids just because they are a race where english isnt a first language and is a language they have to master on their own. Just like Mr.Brown said if I was to go take a German test and start learning that language I would not be ready for a test any time soon. Its as if though I only know the basics of the language but the standerdize test is for people who master the language. It wouldn’t be fair to me compared to the student whos are used to that language.

At the end of the day the neighborhoods and the race all results into what kind of language the student speak. The students in the better neighborhoods are usually the ones that speak the school language and have english as their first language. The students in neighborhoods that arent so nice are the ones speaking the social language, struggling with the school language, and usually have the parents that arent used to the school language as well.

Standardize tests are not fair. The way they are writtin isnt the way some students are used to reading and learning. Its not that they don’t understand they just don’t understand the language.There are students who didn’t choose to not know the school language but that is what they are used to. They are the in reality having to work much harder then the kids getting the higher grades because they are the ones who are trying to learn the school language while already being used to the social language.

Don't Panic said...

Standardized tests are never really a good judge of how smart a person is. They are more of a judge of who understands how to break it down and put it in simple terms. That is the best answer our class came up with. I believe that standardized tests should be done away with and put work into trying to find a better way to measure one's intelligence. I agree with peter it doesn't mean were dumb, it means we were not brought up to understand the "school language" but we were taught a different kind. A student should not be penalized for not understanding the language of the test, the test makers should be penalized for deciding that one test or one type of language was best. We are all different and that must be acknowledged.
Michelle Asciote