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  1. #41
    Away with the fairies Southern Kross's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haphazard View Post
    I don't know about you but in HS we had tests in all classes pretty much every other week except gym, in some classes very regularly every week. However, there were only 2 standardized tests that HS students were required to take, and those weren't even counted towards your grade. Most people took the ACT, some took the SAT, and many people took AP exams, some 5 or 6 a year.
    Wow. That is a lot of tests. We certainly don't have that many here. Well, actually what I mean is we didn't when I was there - now tests are probably much more frequent.

    Quote Originally Posted by OrangeAppled View Post
    In college, I cannot recall one multiple choice exam....we had a lot more projects and papers than exams, and exams were heavy on essays also.
    What did you study?
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  2. #42
    Don't Judge Me! Haphazard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Southern Kross View Post
    Wow. That is a lot of tests. We certainly don't have that many here. Well, actually what I mean is we didn't when I was there - now tests are probably much more frequent.
    This may be because I was trying to go to college though. Maybe people who weren't trying for college didn't have such intense schedules. I just know that particularly in AP classes, they had a lot of material to cover in a short time, thus the constant testing. College does too, but they don't feel the need to test you on it every time they cover a new chapter/whatever. If you don't know it in time for the exam, you're just fucked.
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  3. #43
    Senior Member LEGERdeMAIN's Avatar
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    multiple choice = streamlined grading. It's about efficiency in the face of poor writing skills(and penmanship).
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  4. #44
    Don't Judge Me! Haphazard's Avatar
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    It really is about streamlining. My calc prof in college insisted on having half the tests (content wise, not score wise) be multiple choice which really pissed me off because it's much easier to lose points on math in multiple choice questions than in free-answer questions.
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  5. #45
    Was E.laur Laurie'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.
    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.
    How long since you guys have been in school? They have to pass some standardized tests, 5th grade is only one so far they "had" to pass, which neither child had any trouble passing. My first child is straight A's but my second is an average student.

    My (middle school) kids are doing layered curriculum in social studies and have special science labs and do a lot of critical thinking. Everyday math is a new type of math in the elementary schools that is far superior to what we took in elementary school. I've heard that it's harder for low to average students because it's not just repetition.

    I'm not really sure about no child left behind but I haven't seen any major differences other than teachers making sure they teach some things that will be on the exam.

    On topic: I think multiple choice tests are pretty useless but I can understand why they use them in "unimportant" classes with hundreds of students. We rarely had multiple choice in engineering. We did in metallurgy but that was about it. Even in American History I had to write essays, one of the few "huge" classes I took.

    Kudos for you for picking up on it being something stupid someone said instead of accepting it as truth based on something they knew that you didn't.

  6. #46
    i love skylights's Avatar
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    "America is the only country in the world that does not have an educational system based on examinations."


    yeah right, i wish.

    i did AP and some IB classes in high school, which all had frequent testing. most tests were short answer, some included multiple choice, and many had long essay portions. actually, in many people's eyes, testing is becoming too much of a focus, instead of learning the actual subjects.

    to be honest i HATE multiple choice and love essay questions... so much easier to bullshit!

    Quote Originally Posted by Haphazard
    I was surprised when I got into college that the testing really seemed to die down a lot.
    me too. much more emphasis on papers.

  7. #47
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    Thanks all, I think we've concluded that Americans do in fact write exams. although over-reliance on multiple choice may result in a low standard in a lot of cases. I never really believed my boss's comment, anyway...I take a lot of what she says with a grain of salt!

    One thing I raised which no one really addressed: why do so many Americans seem to have such a poor grasp of geography in particular? I mean, no, Americans are certainly not the only ones, that can happen with anyone from any nationality...but it does seem to be a major trend. I mean, a SEVERE lack of knowledge about geography, like thinking that Canada is just a tiny little country occupying the area of the Maritime provinces on the east coast. And I (and many others) have encountered this kind of basic lack of knowledge about geography, not just amongst Americans in poorer areas with less access to education, but in New York and other major centres, or amongst Americans who are actually in the middle of travelling...

    Mind you, I do recall getting the "is Canada a country?" type of question from a few Europeans too.
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  8. #48
    Was E.laur Laurie's Avatar
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    Maybe because we have 50 states to learn the geography of including capitals? We do spend elementary geography on that. Of course many Americans don't know that either. We have to go pretty far to interact with a non American too.

    I drove just over 1000 miles to see my sister and we saw states down the eastern side of the USA. Can Europeans drive 1000 miles and only learn their own countries geography?

    I'm awful at geography so that's my thought. If a European learns 50 countries and capitals that's "a lot of geography."

  9. #49
    Glowy Goopy Goodness The_Liquid_Laser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SilkRoad View Post
    One thing I raised which no one really addressed: why do so many Americans seem to have such a poor grasp of geography in particular? I mean, no, Americans are certainly not the only ones, that can happen with anyone from any nationality...but it does seem to be a major trend. I mean, a SEVERE lack of knowledge about geography, like thinking that Canada is just a tiny little country occupying the area of the Maritime provinces on the east coast. And I (and many others) have encountered this kind of basic lack of knowledge about geography, not just amongst Americans in poorer areas with less access to education, but in New York and other major centres, or amongst Americans who are actually in the middle of travelling...
    Here is my answer.

    I don't know what the average American knows about Canada, but I had assumed that most Americans could easily identify it on a map. Maybe I'm wrong about that. I really think every American should have basic knowledge about Canada.

    When it comes to Europe I'd have to ask why the average American needs to know much about Europe at all? Can the average European name all nations and capitals of Central and South America? I very much doubt it. What I'm seeing from Europeans is hurt pride. Europeans have to learn about America, so they expect Americans to learn about them. But the US has been the dominant country since WWII: economically, politically and certainly militarily. So every country should take interest in the US for this reason. But the reverse is not true. Really it would be better to teach American students about China and India than it would about Europe, so those countries are going to have a more pronounced role in the near future.
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  10. #50
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Liquid_Laser View Post
    Here is my answer.

    I don't know what the average American knows about Canada, but I had assumed that most Americans could easily identify it on a map. Maybe I'm wrong about that. I really think every American should have basic knowledge about Canada.

    When it comes to Europe I'd have to ask why the average American needs to know much about Europe at all? Can the average European name all nations and capitals of Central and South America? I very much doubt it. What I'm seeing from Europeans is hurt pride. Europeans have to learn about America, so they expect Americans to learn about them. But the US has been the dominant country since WWII: economically, politically and certainly militarily. So every country should take interest in the US for this reason. But the reverse is not true. Really it would be better to teach American students about China and India than it would about Europe, so those countries are going to have a more pronounced role in the near future.
    Fair enough, at least in terms of knowing all capital cities etc. I don't think that's an absolute requirement. But I'm talking about REALLY REALLY BASIC geography. Like when someone from Ireland goes to the US and gets asked "Oh, you're from Ireland? That's in Germany, right?" and then looks confused when the Irish person explains that Ireland and Germany are two separate COUNTRIES and Germany is on the continent while Ireland is an island. Stuff like that...and that was an American in New York, not somewhere in the sticks.

    I've just heard too many stories like that (or encountered it myself) for it to be entirely coincidental, even factoring in European snobbery about Americans. And it's kind of on another level from not knowing all the capital cities, or whatever.

    EDIT: Also, I'm not sure the argument about Europe not being a world power like the US, and therefore not very important, stands. That just seems like a very US-centric worldview. Countries such as Britain and Germany are enormously influential on the world scene politically and economically. Then there's the fact that Europe is the cradle of Western civilization...
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