The Low Test Scores Education Essay

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Abstract

In this literature review, I will be looking at different views of scholars and their viewpoints and ways to improve students low test scores if the field of education. Education and its issues today, is a subject all around the world, which we cannot simply choose to overlook, because it affects us all, in one way or another. In addition to that, I feel that research in this area, if sought-out and used properly, will help prospective students gain the necessary tools needed to move forward with ease.

Introduction

With population or the rise, families struggling everywhere, kids continually having kids and the subject of getting a good education being so far down on the totem-pole today, we as a society must step-up and do something. Everything is moving so fast today that if we do not step-up and take charge over our children's education status, they will soon be so-far behind, it will be almost impossible for them to catch-up, let alone remain in the race at all. Jobs in society today are hard enough to come by, but without the right set of skills employers are looking for, getting a job today is almost impossible.

As stated in the article (2012) (Everything You've Heard About Failing Schools Is Wrong) "the overwhelming emphasis on testing has led some schools and districts to cheat. An investigation by the state of Georgia last year found widespread test-tampering in Atlanta, and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has identified similar patterns in hundreds of districts nationwide. Some schools have also cranked up discipline and school-based arrests, leading struggling students to drop out-and thus improving scores" (Mother Jones Everything You've para 46). However as stated in a different article titled (SAT reading scores hit a four-decade low), it claims, as stated by Layton and Brown (2012) "reading scores on the SAT for the high school class of 2012 reached a four-decade low, putting a punctuation mark on a gradual decline in the ability of college-bound teens to read passages and answer questions about sentence structure, vocabulary and meaning on the college entrance exam" (Wash Post, Sept 24, 12 para 1). So that takes us right back to that major question…."where do we go from here"?

With so many of our hard-earned tax dollars going toward frivolous areas in society today, why not take some of those dollars and use them in an area which will benefit us all one day, because we will all reach those golden years in our lives, and I am almost positive that not one of us will want Kent who is still spelling the word cat with a "K", or Martha with a 3rd grade reading score in the 9th grade now filling our prescription, or being our doctor. We have to as a society put a stop to children these days being promoted to another grade, just because they were present in class, or the teacher him or herself were simply too scared of the student him or herself, or their parents to hold them back another year until they grasped the lessons and techniques they should have learned in that grade.

Low Test Scores

Race - An issue being dealt with all over the world, but as stated by Watkins (2012) "race has tended to be defined by means of either biological explanations (e.g., visible features such as skin color), social explanations (e.g., reflective of socioeconomic forces and factors), or some combination of the two (La Veist, 1996); ethnicity has tended to be used more broadly, referring to a subgroup or community that is bound by belief systems, culture, or some other common feature or features" (Phinney, 1996, 2000). This is an issue we all deal with each and every day, but our school aged children should not be discriminated against in any way because of this issue we as adults have made such a major issue in society today.

Drinking - Another issue that comes into play in our schools today, nonetheless as stated by Barry, Chaney B., and Chaney J. "considering the economic toll associated with underage drinking ($53 billion annually) in unison with the fact that alcohol use is more common than either tobacco or marijuana use among adolescents…." (2011 p.485"). If the parents do not step-up and take charge themselves, of their children, all that money spent annually is nothing but a waste, anyway most children start drinking at home from the parents liquor cabinet or bar…what does that tell us?

P B L - Learning about various subjects through the experience of the problem itself gives students a greater approach to solving that problem their own way, however as stated by Singaram, Vleuten, Stevens and Dolmans "collaborative approaches such as Problem Based Learning (PBL) may provide the opportunity to bring together diverse students but their efficacy in practice and the complications that arise due to the mixed ethnicity needs further investigation" (2010 p.297). I would say PBL gives students more of a sense of learning from one another, and working harder to come up with a solution to the problem at hand.

Exercise - Exercise is a must have for all individuals, if they wish to be and remain healthy, because as stated by Perna et al. (2012) "it is estimated that over a third of school-aged children are overweight or obese, and rates of childhood obesity do not appear to be declining" (2012 p.1594). "even among schools within states with specific PE time requirement laws, average PE time was below school health guidelines and the NASPE recommended standard (i.e., 150 min/week and 225 min/week for elementary schools and middle and high schools, respectively), with few (8.5%) schools fully meeting NASPE guidelines for PE time" (2012 p.1597). And since obesity is ever growing in our pre and school aged children, that is even more of a reason for us to get them up and moving.

Parent Education - What is happening to children today, whose parents are still children themselves, well as stated by Li, Q., & Keith, L. G. (2011) "one social science study which investigated the associations of parental social origins (e.g., parental education and father's occupation) and respondent's education with adult well-being, highlighted the respondent's education as achieved status, a proxy for resources, skills, and abilities in the status attainment process, all of which influence health" (2011 p.899). We do learn from our parents, or are at least supposed to.

Cannot Hear - What happens to students who cannot hear the teacher or instructor properly, well as stated by Dockrell and Shield "much of the teaching and learning in schools is established through talking and listening. Poor listening environments have detrimental effects on students' ability to attend to and process relevant aspects of the acoustical signals in classrooms and compromise learning and achievement" (McSporran, 1997; Picard & Bradley, 2001). (2012 p.1163) "There is an increasing awareness of the specific ways in which poor classroom acoustics can impact students' learning and attainment and evidence that particular groups of students are differentially at risk" (2012 p.1163) Another problem that must be dealt with-with the quickness, what happens if it is simply not the students fault, when they are doing their very best to listen and understand, but simply cannot hear.

U S Research

Distant Education - Online courses and schools have become widely popular in the US and overseas today, and as stated by Rice, "Distance education in the form of online courses and programs targeting grade levels K-12 are often referred to as "virtual schools" or "cyber-schools" and operate in a variety of ways" (2009 p.163).

GOD Term - The GOD term is something which needs more investigating, because as stated by Wray and McCall "'competence' is one of health professional education's most cherished ideas. It's what the 20th century rhetorician Kenneth Burke would call a 'god term' (Burke 1952): a sort of education idol, an ''expression to which all other expressions are ranked as subordinate'' (Weaver 1953) (2009 p. 625). The "god term", is something we will explore further as we go on in this class, but when looking at it, it made me wonder would it be a useful tool to push in our schools more or less today if we could somehow make it work, or not. "For as Burke suggests, the danger with god terms is that, through repeated use and familiarity, they become suggestive of a natural, universal and inevitable order of reality" (2009 p 627).

Data - Having the correct data, and knowing how to properly use it in research is a great tool to have at your side, because as stated by Çakir, M. "data and evidence are the basis for choosing between two competing theories" (Messick1989) (2012 p. 665). When looking at student test scores past and present, having the correct statistical data may show us a link we can use to correct this ongoing problem we seem to be experiencing today, over and over again.

Public vs. Private - An issue being argued back and forth today, with still no concrete answer, but as stated by Al. Shehab, A "researchers indicated that public, governmental schools perform lower than private schools do, and therefore, they suggested that the public educational system should respond to labor market needs and the requirements of economic and human development plans" (Haigan and Al-Qamy, and Al Shehab 2007). (2010 p.181). Would this be the answer we are all seeking,….. I wonder.

Gaps - This problem is surely a long-lasting one, because as stated by Borg, J., Borg, M. O., and Stranahan " it is frustrating that over fifty years after the historic Brown v. Board of Education decision that an educational achievement gap still exists between low-income minority students in inner city schools and their white higher income counterparts who live in the suburbs" (2012 p.2). Does anyone have any idea on how we can get this problem solved that has remained unsolved for over 50 odd years, they seem to be doing research constantly, but still have the same old blank answer sheet in the end.

Research Other Countries

Foreign Children Today - As stated by Valentini, Mezzelani, Marziani, DiTore and Federici "the obvious increasingly presence of foreign children in our schools is inserted as a dynamic phenomenon in a situation - characterized by profound social, cultural transformations of educational organization" (2012 p.S128). This is a rising problem in our schools today, especially the fact that most of these foreign children do not speak anything but their native tongue, and none of the teachers or instructors only speak English which presents a problem.

Immigrant Performance - As stated by Crosnoe, and Turley "the children from immigrant families in the United States make up a historically diverse population, and they are demonstrating just as much diversity in their experiences in the K-12 educational system" (2011 p.129). That is good for those who speak English and are from families in the US, because, as stated by Crosnoe, and Turley "A good deal of evidence points to an immigrant advantage in multiple indicators of academic progress, meaning that many youths from immigrant families outperform their peers in school" (2011 p.129). So what is that telling us about our own students who have been here all their lives, and have never stepped foot outside the US, and immigrant children are passing them by leaving them in their dust. If our children were to immigrate to France or Spain, I just wonder would they be able to do the same or better than the children who have been there all their lives.

Creativity - Other countries are enforcing and giving their children the choice to be creative, because as stated by Raval, Mckenney and Pieters "Recently, governments of Hong Kong, Mainland China, Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea, Israel and other Asian countries have imposed curriculum reforms, which emphasized creativity development in their primary and secondary schools. One common feature of these countries is that they all recognize the importance of creativity across the curriculum, such as science, language, arts and so on" (2011sec 1.1). Just think what could happen if we were more like them.

Field Trips -Field trips are good for our students, because as stated by Kang, Anderson and Wu "school field trips to museums, science centers and similar cultural institutions are common place events in many Western K-12 education systems" (2010). Although things are a little different here in the US, we still have many of the same or even more choices as other countries do, but as stated by Kang, Anderson and Wu "most museums, particularly large institutions in Western cultural contexts, are often well equipped with support infrastructure and skilled education staff to cater to the educational and administrative needs of visiting K-12 classes and their teachers" (2010). Even though they are not connecting the two, as stated by Kang, Anderson and Wu "this is not to suggest that the relationship between the two domains, whose objectives are to support education, ideally complement student learning within the school curriculum. Rather, it is that there are well established relationships where the roles, duties and responsibilities are understood between both parties" (2010).

Simply Not Getting It

Emotions - Emotions play a big part in all walks of life. A persons emotions are a guiding lite in one's everyday life, and as stated by Ahmed, Werf, Minnaert and Kuyper "the possibility that emotions influence students' learning, achievement, and wellbeing has stimulated considerable research in recent years (see Efklides & Volet, 2005; Linnenbrink, 2006; Schutz & Lanehart, 2002; Schutz & Pekrun, 2007). We as parents and teachers have to take that into consideration. as stated by Ahmed, Werf, Minnaert and Kuyper "the possibility that emotions influence students' learning, achievement, and wellbeing has stimulated considerable research in recent years" (see Efklides & Volet, 2005; Linnenbrink, 2006; Schutz & Lanehart, 2002; Schutz & Pekrun, 2007). (2010 p.584). How can they not, emotions affect us all every single day if we want to be honest with ourselves.

Distractions - Distractions are also something we all deal with every day, unless of course we (wear blinders all the time), and as stated by Ali, Papakie and McDevitt "in these days, it is common to see people using cell phones during a movie in a theater, while driving and, yes, in classrooms while class is in session and a professor is lecturing. (2012 p.220). So what to do, and how to do it comes to mind. I really feel there should be a No Cell Phone policy or rule in place while students are in class, I also feel they should not be taken from them, you never know when an emergency could rear its ugly head.

Transition - Moving is hard for anyone especially students, and no one could have said it better that when it was stated by Benner, A. "in the American educational system, school transitions are frequent and predictable, but they can disrupt student functioning across developmental domains" (2011 p.299). Disruptions happen all the time, they are just something we have to get students used to so they will flow more evenly when they happen.

Bullying - Bullying is a topic all parents and teachers need to take a much closer look at, because as stated by Benner and Graham "changes in perceptions of discrimination were examined with 668 Latino students (62% Mexican American; 56% female; Mage = 14.6 years). Adolescents' reports of discrimination increased across the first 2 years of high school" (2011 p.508). Also stated by Benner and Graham "discrimination in the educational context specifically may be subtlety found in such practices as academic tracking, retention in grade, and teacher expectations (see Farkas, 2003, for a review), and research suggests that Latino students recognize these cues, as they are more likely than White students to believe that they were discouraged from taking advanced academic courses and were wrongly disciplined due to race ethnicity" (Fisher, Wallace, & Fenton, 2000) (2011 p.509). On the other hand as stated by Benner and Graham "adolescents who perceive themselves to be chronic targets of others' mistreatment often lose confidence in themselves and in their ability to be self-efficacious" (2011 p.509). Bullying makes students no matter what race or gender feel like they are less than other students who are not being bullied, it messes with their self-esteem.

Not Understanding At All - Major problem being overlooked a lot. Just because a student is of age to move on to the next grade, if they are improperly prepared, they should simply be held back a semester or year until they are fully prepared. As stated by Dorothyjean, C. (n.d) "even to the extent that high school outcomes are determined by freshman ability, the question remains: how do students arrive at 9th grade with such a gap in preparedness? Studies show that, on average, low income students begin elementary school at lower levels of math and reading ability, in part due to lower preschool enrollment" ( [Magnuson et al., 2004] and [Magnuson et al., 2007]) (n.d. par.3). Children today are being promoted still knowing nothing at all…….major problem.

Helps

Mentors - Sometimes all a student needs is that little extra push or that helping hand from another qualified person, and as stated by Brown "in general, the aim of a mentoring relationship is to develop and refine a young person's skills, abilities, and understanding" (LaVant et al., 1987). (2011 p.2). That is it simply a little extra help to help them develop their skills properly.

Computers - In today's society, one must be computer literate, because as stated by Elgali and Kalman "educational researchers have studied the successes and failures of ICT integration projects through the lens of disciplines such as educational management and educational innovation (e.g., (Chen, 2006; Kozma, 2003; Law, Pelgrum, & Plomp, 2008) (2010 p.282), and found computer knowledge to be a must have quality today. Things are not the same today as in yesteryears, to almost get served in any of the phone stores today, you have to be able to use the computer at the front of the store to even get waited on by a customer service representative. It is not like it used to be at all, one cannot just walk in a store and get in line, you must first sign in with your information on the computer, then and then only does your name go on the board to get served, and as stated by Hannafin and Foshay "Since the early 1990s, the discussion has shifted to how computers should be used and what kinds of learning outcomes should be sought. (2008 p.149). Computer skills are a must to have these days, and anyone without them is in a sorry situation.

Creativity -We as parents and teachers should always encourage out children to be creative, where would we be today if all the creative minds of the past would not have practiced their skills, because as stated by Vivian "students characterized this creative learning as a kind of active and playful learning which encouraged them to think boarder and wider, to appreciate creative ideas, and to develop their curiosity, confidence and initiation in learning. Though this classroom reform originally aimed at creativity development, students considered better understanding of science knowledge and positive attitudes towards science learning as their major gains" (n.d p.70). So let's all encourage creativity in our children and students today.

Games - Myself I am all for learning through games, it makes assignments more fun, and students work harder because it is so much fun, and as stated by Markey, Leeder and St. Jean "however, the literature specifically addressing games for IL education is significantly limited" (2011 p.47), we as parents and teachers should go to whatever limit it takes to get these types of educational tools for our classrooms. It will certainly help more than it will hurt in the long run.

Conclusion

In the fast moving highly technical world we live in today, we have to seriously stop and ask ourselves, "are we living in a world that is only getting dumber & dumber" by the decade? Looking back at a time when we did not have all the cell phones and computers, we seem to have gotten along with our everyday task with ease and a sense of having accomplished something every day, but today living in this high-tech world, one is just as satisfied, going into work, turning on a machine, and letting the machine do the work for them.

They do not even have to worry about being held accountable when things go wrong, or disasters happen on the job, just blame it on the machine. Situations like that are happening every day, and it makes you wonder is this the way I want to raise my children, or grandchildren to be. Little Sally still cannot recite her ABC's properly, but she sure can send a text on a cell phone, and little Johnny still has not mastered the technique of being completely potty-trained at 5 going on 6, but he sure has mastered the art of making it to the highest level in most video games he has played.

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