Neil Hester

All poems © Neil Hester unless otherwritten

Location: North Carolina, United States

Thursday, April 19, 2007

TAKS- Tertiary Abomination of Kayaks and Snails

Well, close; actually, it's the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills, a series of state-given tests students from 2nd-11th grade are taking right now, if I'm not mistakened. I'm going to point out some of the problems with this test right now, since I'm in the thick of:

  • The TAKS test covers a very rigid curriculum; this leaves little room for deviation on the teacher's part and therefore cuts into their style and often disallows them to teach what and how they would like to.
  • The English/Writing test features three Short Answer questions and one Essay. These are then graded by hundreds of different teachers; subjectivity is an obvious and severe problem. Also, the writing (Short Answers in particular) can only deviate from the "proper" method taught so much before they dock your score; the quality of the actual writing isn't necessarily the primary concern.
  • While a minor issue (due to its infrequent occurrence), problems can occasionally be vague and difficult to understand (note: a muddled question is notably different from a complex question; the issue at hand is unclear language).
  • While perhaps more of an observation or preference than a flaw, the questions vary wildly in difficulty with no discernible pattern, in contrast to the easy~~>hard situation (and smaller range of difficulty) of the PSAT, which is preferred. Having a 6th grade question followed by a 12th grade question is a tad bizarre.

I'd say that's a good summation of the issues at hand; the first two are the big ones, really. Fortunately, change might be golden, should it actually occur and improve upon the current system. Enough about that, though; either lead to graduation in the end, so hey~ I suppose I'm just concerned about education, whether or not I'm in the area/range of effect.

Last note: an interesting article on Japan's energy conservation. The U.S. is incapable of such efficiency for various reasons (e.g. size and culture), but even meeting Japan (or the E.U., at this rate) halfway would be nice.

Take Care,


Blogger AnoNick said...

Same problems occur with all examinations, I guess... the worst is subjectivity... it is not serious in physics, or math, but very serious in the languages. But I dont think there is a way around it... what do you think?

The other problem is surely the "proper" methods, but these occur in every examination which is taken by thousands of students: there cannot be many methods.

One more thing we suffer here because our 12th and 10th grade statewide exams are held across the state is the low level of the cirriculum. But high standards of education cannot be met by all schools in the state: some are in remote villages. That's why we suffer when compared with students from other state/nationwide boards.

9:40 PM  

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