More to life than Google – a journey for PhD students

The future of a nation depends on its teachers for they are the role models that the next generation grows up looking at. With such an important role to play, it is but natural that there are standardized testing and monitoring of their performances on a regular basis, like the Orion Code checks your investment’s performance when trading online.

In these trying times when the United States is no more the top destination for students and academicians because of the declining standards of education, a new controversy has raised its head – The plea to scrape the ASLT (Academic Skills Literacy Test) in New York.

One of the largest states of the US wants to jettison the literacy test citing that the test is unfair to the blacks and the Hispanics.

What is ASLT

This test has been designed to test the reading and writing capability of wannabe teachers. This literacy test consists of a series of multiple choice questions and reading comprehension. The objective of the test is to eliminate poor teachers.

It is one of the four tests that wannabe teachers must pass to obtain the certification to teach.

Why should it be scrapped?

There are several educationists and policy makers who believe that the caliber of a teacher cannot be judged on a test which is so unfair to them. They welcome the move to scrap it and state the following reasons to demonstrate how the test is prejudiced to the white section of the society.

  • The percentage of whites clearing the exam is far higher than the Hispanics and the Blacks. Educationists believe that a majority white teacher base is ill-suited for a multiracial country like the USA.
  • Another reason the blacks and the Latinos scored poorly was the constant sword of poverty and racism hanging over their heads. In fact, almost every test in the country sees people from these backgrounds performing poorly.
  • The test is expensive. Practice papers from the New York State Education Department cost $20. While the actual test itself cost a steep $131.
  • Finally, the test is designed poorly with all the multiple choice questions having more than one answer.

Overall, totally unnecessary and unwanted test that can in no way measure the caliber of a teacher.

Why shouldn’t it be removed?

Those who oppose the scrapping state that the present education system needs such screening tests to differentiate between capable teachers and the unfit ones. They reason out that by doing away with the test children will be exposed to weaker teachers who will do more harm than good. According to them, the test is so simple that a normal 12th grader can clear it comfortably.

The State Board of Regents will decide the fate of several million Americans who want to be teachers. The board is also contemplating on making changes to several other exams that assess the performance of teachers.

One of the proposed changes is that a teacher who fails the certification exam can still be certified on other factors, the most prominent being existing teachers’ recommendations.

For now, we can say that the fate of several teacher wannabes is clinging precipitously to the historic decision in New York sometime this week.

Stubbings, R and Franklin, G (2005) More to life than Google – a journey for PhD students. JeLit 2(2).

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