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LuisanaT's picture

In a perfect world

In response to the second teacher’s opinion, I feel like using the rigid structure of the PSSA’s and other standardized examinations alike to formulate the curriculum is valid. For one thing, gaining the ability to critically read and retain information from multiple passages in a short period of time is a useful skill to have, especially when it comes to tackling the immense reading material in college. However, in no way does that justify the short dominance it holds in the classroom; the majority of the year is dedicated to test-taking strategies and various practice material, limiting the amount of learning that goes on in the academic year. For there is a big difference between learning how to “perfect” the (math, reading, writing, etc) skills students already have and solely learning how to best take the examination. I understand that the exams are meant to test a student’s current knowledge, but, and here is where one of the real problems arises, it should not be knowledge just learned specifically for the test.

In a perfect world, there would be a fairer distribution of time and effort spent teaching students skills and concepts that just also happen to prepare students for any standardized test. Here all students would learn, for example, to quickly sum up the function of each paragraph in a passage as they are reading it as a general reading comprehension strategy, not a test-taking one two months before the big exam. But since this world isn’t perfect, I for one did not explicitly learn to extract main ideas while reading until the SAT’s rolled around. If I have been trained to work in that efficient, effective matter ever since I started reading not only would I save time and money preparing for the SATs, a lot of what goes on in programs like KAPLAN would be obsolete, but I could have done exceptionally better on the exam.

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