Here are some sample questions from the practice 8th grade state reading test given in my school this week:
(after reading a short passage on World War I)
1. If the Archduke of Austria had not been assassinated,
a. there would not have been a war.
b. he would have stopped the war from occuring.
c. some other event would have caused World War I.
d. Germany would have won the war.
That's a good question, but it seems more like a take home essay topic in Modern European History (HS 201).
(after reading an excerpt from Alice in Wonderland)
2. people who enjoy reading this type of literature would probably read
a. Fear Street thrillers
b. a biography about Michael Jordan
c. Gulliver's Travels
d. A Child's Garden Book of Verses
I think it's either c or d, but what junior high school kid has read Gulliver's Travels? It's hardly a children's book. There was a movie about it last year, but it seems even worse to me if the kids are being tested on their movie knowledge. And who in the last 40 years has read A Child's Garden Book of Verses? and which one is Alice in Wonderland more similar to?
(after reading a job application)
3. Why would an employer be interested in an applicant's "Employment History"?
a. to find out salaries other companies offer
b. to find out why applicants have left previous jobs
c. to help determine an applicant's qualifications
d. to help determine what salary to pay an employee.
um, all of them?
These are the evaluation tools being used to sort the smart kids from the stupid ones and to denigrate teachers and take away their collective bargaining rights.
I will never complain about my last round pairings again.
I know I made this point before, albeit in a comment, but here's my insight into the standardized testing cheating scandals. If a teacher wants to cheat and not get caught by telltale erasure marks, all (s)he has to do is tell the class "Don't guess if you aren't sure; big deductions are taken for wrong answers. Just leave it blank if you aren't 95% sure"
Then you can cheat faster (you know which questions were hard for the child) and you don't need an eraser at all! It's amazing to me that no one in the Atlanta, Philadelphia, New Jersey and Connecticut school districts seems to have thought of this.