Inside The Sad World Of Standardized Test Essay-Scoring

6008578.28Minneapolis’s City Paper delves into a dark corner of the education system: the ever-growing test-scoring industry. Every day, armies of underpaid, disenchanted, hungover slacker-temps slave away in private essay-grading mills, slapping on arbitrary scores which determine whether schools across the country will receive funding and whether students will graduate:

Eventually, DiMaggio got used to not asking questions. He got used to skimming the essays as fast as possible, glancing over the responses for about two minutes apiece before clicking a score.

Every so often, though, his thoughts would drift to the school in Arkansas or Ohio or Pennsylvania. If they only knew what was going on behind the scenes. “The legitimacy of testing is being taken for granted,” he says. “It’s a farce.”

DiMaggio had good reason to worry. His score could determine whether the school was deemed adequate or failing—whether it received government funding or got shut down.

Though the efficacy of standardized testing has been hotly debated for decades, one thing has become crystal clear: It’s big business. In 2002, President George Bush signed the infamous No Child Left Behind Act. While testing around the country had been on the rise for decades, NCLB tripled it.

Read More: City Paper

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  • DeepCough

    Perhaps the most abhorrent thing about American education is that American students are not encouraged to learn and think critically, rather they are drilled on convention and urged into conformity, and worse yet, students, instead of taking time to learn a subject, actually waste time taking classes on how to take a test.

  • DeepCough

    Perhaps the most abhorrent thing about American education is that American students are not encouraged to learn and think critically, rather they are drilled on convention and urged into conformity, and worse yet, students, instead of taking time to learn a subject, actually waste time taking classes on how to take a test.

    • Andrew

      I think that explains a lot about the decline of American culture.

    • StillAtMyMoms

      Amen, Deep Cough. Your point is 100% true.

  • Andrew

    I think that explains a lot about the decline of American culture.

  • Trenton

    The sad truth about American education is it’s being hijacked by teacher unions.
    Here’s a link to the basic skills test current teachers need to pass to continue teaching in Illinois http://www.icts.nesinc.com/PDFs/BasicSkills.pdf

    Note the math section that requires….Ready?…..35% to pass! But wait there’s more! Since it’s a multiple choice test, knowing 13% of the answers and guessing on the rest should still get you a passing score. What’s that? 13% still to hard to achieve on a test any average 10th grader should pass? Don’t worry, you get FIVE! chances to fail!!! All this for a job that pays over 110K a year for 8 months work and 5 hour days. Anyone that doubts the total pay package that high has successfully been brained washed by the union and media.

  • Trenton

    The sad truth about American education is it’s being hijacked by teacher unions.
    Here’s a link to the basic skills test current teachers need to pass to continue teaching in Illinois http://www.icts.nesinc.com/PDFs/BasicSkills.pdf

    Note the math section that requires….Ready?…..35% to pass! But wait there’s more! Since it’s a multiple choice test, knowing 13% of the answers and guessing on the rest should still get you a passing score. What’s that? 13% still to hard to achieve on a test any average 10th grader should pass? Don’t worry, you get FIVE! chances to fail!!! All this for a job that pays over 110K a year for 8 months work and 5 hour days. Anyone that doubts the total pay package that high has successfully been brained washed by the union and media.

    • smooth_operator

      110K per year for teachers? What America are you living in? The one with rainbow shitting unicorns?

      • Bud Bundy

        Indeed. The actual average is around 45k a year. As usual I think a bit of creative statistics was involved, such as including College Professors, who having Doctorates actually rate at around 110k a year.

        I’m not saying this attack on education is a right wing, bible thumping, enslaving the poor sort of thing, I’m just saying we have no evidence that it isn’t.

      • JoiquimCouteau

        When I was in high school, we found a list of teacher salaries, and they were invariably over 100k. The ‘security’ personnel, who sat by the doors and did nothing, had starting salaires of about 45k. This was a public high school.

    • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

      I’m so sick of people blaming education on teachers. There USED to be good teachers. Ones that liked to teach children. Now, teachers are essentially forced to teach to and waste so much useful class time on standardized testing. Teachers that actually want to be good teachers get frustrated by this, and now teaching is a last resort sort of job for educated people. Thus the bottom of the bucket become teachers, and the stereotype of teachers has officially become crap

      • Bud Bundy

        I once had good teachers. They told me about what they knew, and how they dealt with the situations. They also taught me about life experience, and how they reacted to such. Any little thing, they had an answer for.

        They were Drill Sergeants.

        As for teachers, well.. haha. Talk about a no win situation. When faced with a Government that tells them they must pump out menial workers at a dime a dozen, and then enforces testing to ensure they are producing future wage slaves, and only such… Or else they lose their job.

        All I’m saying is welcome to Slavery 2.0.

    • teachingthefuture

      In Louisiana the average teacher makes $50,000 per year and works before and after school hours and on weekends planning engaging educational activities for students with little interest in achievement and less than 5 minute attention spans. In addition, the teachers that I know work to help students have a better future. We are definitely not in it for the money. Holidays are nice but the dates are dictated to you. My sister, a noncollege graduate had her own phone, lunch break and a restroom that was not shared by 60 other faculty and staff.

      • Brentskinner5

        Oh, boohoo, a teachers work long hours for guaranteed pay. …and then get the summer off. Meanwhile, my self-employed self works just as hard, with no summer off and no guaranteed pay. But, hey, I’m just an asshole, right?

        • Hadrian999

          blaming them because your lack of success as a businessman, sounds like an asshole to me

          • Brentskinner5

            Jesus Christ, man. As seems to be a trend with you, I am attacked ad hominem.

            You’re a fucking asshole. I’m not BLAMING anyone. I’m simply making a legitimate observation:

            My pay is not guaranteed. Nor would I want it to be. But they’d like theirs to be.

            If I do a good job, I run a better chance of being paid. They think every single teach does a good job and deserves to be paid. But logic and simple friggin’ experience says that some do, and some don’t. No shit there are good, hard-working teachers. No shit there are shitty ones too. Or is education the one profession that has not a single bad professional who needs to be fired? Because that theory in practice is what, functionally, the teachers union forces us to employ.

            I work hard. In your world, if I were successful, I wouldn’t have to work at all. Maybe this mistaken notion is why you’re a leftist. You are so fucking wet behind the god damn ears. Figure it the fuck out, shit head.

          • Hadrian999

            if they have negotiated rate and live up to the terms of that contract then they deserve the money that was negotiated, if school boards are making bad deals it is their fault not the teachers fault, locked in rates aren’t always a good thing, and a note when you are ridiculing people it’s bad form to take offense when someone throws a little back your way. whatever business you are in I bet you wouldn’t take it lying down if a client tried to weasel out of paying you an agreed upon wage.

        • GoodDoktorBad

          Uh…Yup!

  • Anonymous

    110K per year for teachers? What America are you living in? The one with rainbow shitting unicorns?

  • Bud Bundy

    Indeed. The actual average is around 45k a year. As usual I think a bit of creative statistics was involved, such as including College Professors, who having Doctorates actually rate at around 110k a year.

    I’m not saying this attack on education is a right wing, bible thumping, enslaving the poor sort of thing, I’m just saying we have no evidence that it isn’t.

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  • Anonymous

    Amen, Deep Cough. Your point is 100% true.

  • Anonymous

    When I was in high school, we found a list of teacher salaries, and they were invariably over 100k. The ‘security’ personnel, who sat by the doors and did nothing, had starting salaires of about 45k. This was a public high school.

  • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

    I’m so sick of people blaming education on teachers. There USED to be good teachers. Ones that liked to teach children. Now, teachers are essentially forced to teach to and waste so much useful class time on standardized testing. Teachers that actually want to be good teachers get frustrated by this, and now teaching is a last resort sort of job for educated people. Thus the bottom of the bucket become teachers, and the stereotype of teachers has officially become crap

  • teachingthefuture

    In Louisiana the average teacher makes $50,000 per year and works before and after school hours and on weekends planning engaging educational activities for students with little interest in achievement and less than 5 minute attention spans. In addition, the teachers that I know work to help students have a better future. We are definitely not in it for the money. Holidays are nice but the dates are dictated to you. My sister, a noncollege graduate had her own phone, lunch break and a restroom that was not shared by 60 other faculty and staff.

  • Anonymous

    Heh, if I have to take a sh-t job, I should go there…

    Look up the “Ideological” schools, namely the nuck futz fundiez and ultra right winger ones… Or the ones voted down by a certain “Bunny” magazine for not being good partay hartay ones…

    Mwahahahaah!!!

  • greengestalt

    Heh, if I have to take a sh-t job, I should go there…

    Look up the “Ideological” schools, namely the nuck futz fundiez and ultra right winger ones… Or the ones voted down by a certain “Bunny” magazine for not being good partay hartay ones…

    Mwahahahaah!!!

  • Bud Bundy

    I once had good teachers. They told me about what they knew, and how they dealt with the situations. They also taught me about life experience, and how they reacted to such. Any little thing, they had an answer for.

    They were Drill Sergeants.

    As for teachers, well.. haha. Talk about a no win situation. When faced with a Government that tells them they must pump out menial workers at a dime a dozen, and then enforces testing to ensure they are producing future wage slaves, and only such… Or else they lose their job.

    All I’m saying is welcome to Slavery 2.0.

  • Brentskinner5

    Oh, boohoo, a teachers work long hours for guaranteed pay. …and then get the summer off. Meanwhile, my self-employed self works just as hard, with no summer off and no guaranteed pay. But, hey, I’m just an asshole, right?

  • Hadrian999

    blaming them because your lack of success as a businessman, sounds like an asshole to me

  • Brentskinner5

    Jesus Christ, man. As seems to be a trend with you, I am attacked ad hominem.

    You’re a fucking asshole. I’m not BLAMING anyone. I’m simply making a legitimate observation:

    My pay is not guaranteed. Nor would I want it to be. But they’d like theirs to be.

    If I do a good job, I run a better chance of being paid. They think every single teach does a good job and deserves to be paid. But logic and simple friggin’ experience says that some do, and some don’t. No shit there are good, hard-working teachers. No shit there are shitty ones too. Or is education the one profession that has not a single bad professional who needs to be fired? Because that theory in practice is what, functionally, the teachers union forces us to employ.

    I work hard. In your world, if I were successful, I wouldn’t have to work at all. Maybe this mistaken notion is why you’re a leftist. You are so fucking wet behind the god damn ears. Figure it the fuck out, shit head.

  • Anonymous

    Uh…Yup!

  • Hadrian999

    if they have negotiated rate and live up to the terms of that contract then they deserve the money that was negotiated, if school boards are making bad deals it is their fault not the teachers fault, locked in rates aren’t always a good thing, and a note when you are ridiculing people it’s bad form to take offense when someone throws a little back your way. whatever business you are in I bet you wouldn’t take it lying down if a client tried to weasel out of paying you an agreed upon wage.

  • GoodDoktorBad

    Standardized testing exists to standardize ignorance to achieve a nice, uniform putty like density in the minds of the yet unindoctrinated. Your better off with home schooling.
    In example, I learned to read before I entered kindergarten. I read “All Quiet on the Western Front” when I was 7 years old. I’m not special -anyone can learn these things at any age. It’s a matter of exposure.
    So, if our young students are getting dumber, its a fair question to ask -what are we exposing them to?

  • Anonymous

    Standardized testing exists to standardize ignorance to achieve a nice, uniform putty like density in the minds of the yet unindoctrinated. Your better off with home schooling.
    In example, I learned to read before I entered kindergarten. I read “All Quiet on the Western Front” when I was 7 years old. I’m not special -anyone can learn these things at any age. It’s a matter of exposure.
    So, if our young students are getting dumber, its a fair question to ask -what are we exposing them to?

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  • AMorandi

     I would like to teach high school physics as a career but these standardized tests really make me want to reconsider. 

  • AMorandi

     I would like to teach high school physics as a career but these standardized tests really make me want to reconsider. 

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