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  1. #11
    Away with the fairies Southern Kross's Avatar
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    Interesting topic. I have noticed America's education system is quite different to what I'm used to. Based on what I see in movies and TV (an unreliable source I know) it seems like SATs are the only exams high school students take, and instead they do a lot more of internal tests. I'm also confused by the fact that in the US if you want to study medicine or law you already have to have a degree (and it seems it doesn't matter what in) before you can begin.

    But if we're splitting hairs, on the other hand doesn't England force 11 year olds to take middle-school entrance exams? That seems a bit harsh to me...

    Another question: when you have written sections in exams are they generally short answers or are they more essay based (say, for the humanities)?
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  2. #12
    Senior Member INTPness's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Southern Kross View Post
    Interesting topic. I have noticed America's education system is quite different to what I'm used to. Based on what I see in movies and TV (an unreliable source I know) it seems like SATs are the only exams high school students take, and instead they do a lot more of internal tests. I'm also confused by the fact that in the US if you want to study medicine or law you already have to have a degree (and it seems it doesn't matter what in) before you can begin.

    But if we're splitting hairs, on the other hand doesn't England force 11 year olds to take middle-school entrance exams? That seems a bit harsh to me...

    Another question: when you have written sections in exams are they generally short answers or are they more essay based (say, for the humanities)?
    Are you asking these questions to the Americans in the thread or to the OP? I have no idea where you live in the world, so I'm not sure what angle you are coming from. I couldn't tell from your post.
    NTJ's are the only types that have ever made me feel emo.
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  3. #13
    Protocol Droid Athenian200's Avatar
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    I don't know how it is in other states, but in Texas, we had to take something called the TAKS at the end of every year for as long as I could remember in K-12. The majority of it was multiple choice, but there were some essay questions in English, I believe. Almost all the tests we took in class were multiple choice, though.

    I don't think this represents a problem with the educational system. I don't think the majority of people are capable of critical thinking, so an educational system designed to teach information that way would be largely ineffective. From what I've heard, the lower levels of education were originally designed to prepare people for factory jobs, and you have to go to college if you actually wanted to learn anything beyond basic literacy and mathematics. They try to cram in as much useful and culturally relevant information into those years as possible.

    We DO have exams and tests here, and quite a few, but they are usually graded by machines. In fact, I once took a test that required me to write an essay into a computer, and the computer graded it by analyzing grammar and checking for key word usage. This was at a community college, though.

    From what I've heard, you can get a good education in the United States, but you have to go to an expensive college. It's not unheard of for very intelligent people to come out of, say, MIT.

  4. #14
    Away with the fairies Southern Kross's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by INTPness View Post
    Are you asking these questions to the Americans in the thread or to the OP? I have no idea where you live in the world, so I'm not sure what angle you are coming from. I couldn't tell from your post.
    Sorry for the lack of clarity. I mean to ask the Americans

    I'm from New Zealand, so I'm neither European or American (although I was taught in a system similar to the British one)
    INFP 4w5 so/sp

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    they've gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the colour of my mind.

    - Emily Bronte

  5. #15
    Senior Member INTPness's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Southern Kross View Post
    Sorry for the lack of clarity. I mean to ask the Americans
    In that case,

    Quote Originally Posted by Southern Kross View Post
    Interesting topic. I have noticed America's education system is quite different to what I'm used to. Based on what I see in movies and TV (an unreliable source I know) it seems like SATs are the only exams high school students take, and instead they do a lot more of internal tests.
    SAT's are like once in your life. The average high school or college student will have "internal tests" (as you call them) all the time. In a lower-level college course, there might be anywhere from 1 to 5 tests with perhaps a research paper and several other smaller assignments and maybe even a group project.

    To give an example of how ridiculous some college courses can be here, the easiest classes I had in college might have had something like the following to make up the final grade you received:

    a) 4 multiple choice exams (your worst score will be dropped and an average will be made of your highest 3).
    It would always crack me up when the first test would come back and the highest grade in the class was something like 82 out of 100. Traditionally, that's about a B-, so in order to avoid giving 50% of students a failing grade, the professor would "curve" the results - often times adding 18 points to everyone's score so that the person with 82 ended up with 100 and the person with 55 out of 100 (fail), ended up with 73 (C-). This practice is very common and is absolutely laughable.

    b) One presentation or research paper (anywhere from 5 to 10 pages). If you can do decent research and come up with something thoughtful and write fairly cohesively, you will get a big smiley face on your paper.

    c) You might also have weekly assignments like: go home and read about company A and how they got started and write one page about why you think they were successful.

    d) Maybe a group project

    All these things will be averaged out to make up your final grade in the class.

    Now the GOOD professors, on the other hand, would show up on day 1 and say, "I'm not like the rest of them. If you want to learn, then you're in the right place. If you want to show up every day half-asleep and expect to get a "B" in my class, you're probably in the wrong place. These professors often would give tests comprised of several open-ended questions (i.e. choose 2 world cultures and compare and contrast those cultures in regards to their current economic activity as it pertains to this class). These professors usually wouldn't let you "drop" your lowest test score. Every test counted and you had to perform well and you had to "actually learn" if you wanted a good grade.

    I'm also confused by the fact that in the US if you want to study medicine or law you already have to have a degree (and it seems it doesn't matter what in) before you can begin.
    Hmmm, I'm not sure how it works in other countries, but I'm not sure that I want an 18-year-old going right into medicine. Not that they couldn't handle the material if they were intelligent, but what about life experience? That's part of the theory behind the first 2 years of college here, which are made up of a broad spectrum of classes. You usually have to take some form of arts/humanities, a few social science classes, a math class, a physical education class, a hard science class, a government and/or history class, and other electives of your choice to round out the breadth of your education. Then and only then can you begin to get deeper into the subject you want to study. Someone serious about medicine would probably want to get their first degree in something like physiology, anatomy, etc. For law, perhaps government, economics, maybe even business. But, yeah, if you got your degree in fine art and then suddenly decided you wanted to go study medicine, you can certainly apply for med school, but it doesn't mean you will get accepted and you would definitely need to take preliminary coursework so that you were equally prepared with your fellow medical students. You wouldn't be ready to start studying medicine tomorrow. But, the idea and the assumption is that if you have an exceptional academic record - you are a superior student, that you should probably have the capability to do well in whatever subject you study. If you get into medical school and can't keep up, then it won't work for you. You won't make it and you won't become a doctor.

    Another question: when you have written sections in exams are they generally short answers or are they more essay based (say, for the humanities)?
    In high school, it would be short answers. In early college it could be both. The further on you go in college, the more open-ended the questions will become. Rather than "what is the answer to this question?" it will become "explain in detail what you know about x".
    NTJ's are the only types that have ever made me feel emo.
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  6. #16
    Senior Member INTPness's Avatar
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    I always loved questions like, "How do you think Abraham Lincoln would have fared into today's world? Why?"

    After the test was over, all the SJ's would say, "How can he ask a question like that when it wasn't even in the textbook? I don't remember reading about that and he didn't talk about it in his lectures."
    NTJ's are the only types that have ever made me feel emo.
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  7. #17
    Senior Member ThatsWhatHeSaid's Avatar
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    America's obsession with standardized testing is pretty fascinating. I would venture a guess that part of the reason standardized testing has gained popularity in the last 10 years, especially in middle schools, has to do with our compulsive need to see everyone as being equal and having the same capacity and range of talents. It's like we're doing our best to forget about all the nuances and colors of personality and talent and reduce people to measurable scores in a very narrow category, as if to say "this is all that matters, this is all we're going to pay attention to, ignore everything else." It's bizarre.

  8. #18
    Senior Member INTPness's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThatsWhatHeSaid View Post
    America's obsession with standardized testing is pretty fascinating. I would venture a guess that part of the reason standardized testing has gained popularity in the last 10 years, especially in middle schools, has to do with our compulsive need to see everyone as being equal and having the same capacity and range of talents. It's like we're doing our best to forget about all the nuances and colors of personality and talent and reduce people to measurable scores in a very narrow category, as if to say "this is all that matters, this is all we're going to pay attention to, ignore everything else." It's bizarre.
    Yeah, it's something like that. It's almost like education = McDonald's. Just pump out a bunch of burgers that all look and taste the same and it will be good. Yeah, that method might be efficient, but what if I want a REALLY good burger or a specialty burger or mushrooms or whatever. What we end up with is a bunch of college graduates who have no clue how to perform in their first job.
    NTJ's are the only types that have ever made me feel emo.
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  9. #19
    Senior Member ThatsWhatHeSaid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by INTPness View Post
    Yeah, it's something like that. It's almost like education = McDonald's. Just pump out a bunch of burgers that all look and taste the same and it will be good. Yeah, that method might be efficient, but what if I want a REALLY good burger or a specialty burger or mushrooms or whatever. What we end up with is a bunch of college graduates who have no clue how to perform in their first job.
    Not to mention failing to nurture people's innate talents and interests because teachers are forbidden to stray from curriculum. It's a shame that we let stupid people design and implement our education system.

  10. #20
    Senior Member INTPness's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThatsWhatHeSaid View Post
    Not to mention failing to nurture people's innate talents and interests because teachers are forbidden to stray from curriculum. It's a shame that we let stupid people design and implement our education system.
    No, we can't allow individuality to seep its way into our education system. *gasp*
    NTJ's are the only types that have ever made me feel emo.
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    There are two great days in a person's life - the day we are born and the day we discover why. --William Barclay

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