Is questioning others and taking opposing viewpoints a bad thing?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by AlwaysAttend, Aug 9, 2017.

  1. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Groupie

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    Aug 11, 2017

    I think most districts that change their hw policies to no more than 5% or no hw policies see that reaction to hw or non credit assignments.

    I think the truth is, with such a liberal retake policy, (clasical defintion of the word, no political context), grades need to become meaningless, thus the pass/fail. Otherwise how could you compare an A achieved on the first test or on the 5th test.

    Think of all the teacher test takers who we see on this board who repeatedly fail praxis. Once they pass, their result is just as good as us who passed the first time. How many districts asked how many times you took the praxis?
     
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  2. jadorelafrance

    jadorelafrance Comrade

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    Aug 11, 2017

    THis is a summative test taken at the very end of your study (either before or during student teaching), that is cumulative of everything you have learned your entire student career. It's high stakes. It also only is a portion of the requirement for credential (coursework, internship, other previous assessments, etc.). There's also penalties for not passing the first time (delayed credential/student teaching, unable to get into a class, etc.). Law students have to take the bar (and many don't pass the first time) in order to practice law.
     
  3. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Groupie

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    Aug 11, 2017

    I'd hardly compare the Bar Exam or even the LSAT to the Praxis. It's a lot closer to the GED than the Bar exam.

    But I'll play anyway. Should schools offer a cumulative test option as well? In some places they offer a portfolio graduation for students who can't pass required state exams. Should students have the option to test out at the beginning of every course? You can do it in many college courses. I know you take (EDIT I MEAN TESTS NOT CLASSES) classes for placement in math in hs. Shouldn't kids get credits for the classes they skip and finish early?

    There is already a way to test out of high school entirely early and I mentioned it earlier. The GED.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2017
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  4. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Groupie

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    Aug 12, 2017 at 9:07 PM

  5. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Rookie

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    Aug 13, 2017 at 12:09 AM

    AlwaysAttend, I absolutely agree with your original post. You hit the nail on the head. ;)

    I have also noticed on here that some posters will, for example, complain about having to pass a test and say that they shouldn't have to pass a COMPETENCY test to become a teacher. :confused:

    I'm like, seriously?! You should have to demonstrate what you know. State licensure agencies can't just take you at your word that you know it. There needs to be state standards for all educators across the board, regardless of educational background.

    Their response is usually along the lines of, "Passing a test doesn't make you a good teacher." Um, yeah, but that is not what the test is designed to do. *It is designed to test your knowledge of the subject matter.* If you can't pass it, then you haven't yet mastered the material.

    This probably will rile up those posters that I mentioned, but so be it. :cool:

    Edit: I will say that I don't care how many times that it takes you to pass the test. If you pass on the fifth try or whatever, then you have shown that you know the material well. All I care is that you pass. The number of attempts does not matter.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2017 at 12:24 AM
  6. PrettyQueenBee

    PrettyQueenBee Rookie

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    Aug 13, 2017 at 12:51 AM

    Very interesting topic. My school district has a retake policy set in place, but there's a busload of stipulations:

    Retakes are only for "critical subjects" (their words, not mine) such as English, math and science. I think they picked these subjects because there's so many state tests in these subjects. There's no limit on retakes, so students are allowed to retake until they pass. Homework and quizzes count a lot in our district though.

    Speaking of, students must show steady progress in other assignments. Absences from school need to be accounted for. After this is checked by guidance, the student must fill out a retake form and have their parent(s) sign it. The retake cannot be conducted during school hours, so they will need to stay after 2:15 PM. I can't tell you how many teachers in the district hate the retake policy. I'm pretty neutral on it.

    A lot of math teachers give the same test, but switch it up the numbers (which is smart in my opinion). It's easy to memorize the answer to: "What is the reference angle of sin 5pi/3?" But what if I switched the numbers and asked you for the reference angle of cos 7pi/6? Or -21pi/4 (this one would require an extra step)? Yes, they are different questions, but the process of finding a reference angle will never change.
     
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  7. Mshope2012

    Mshope2012 Rookie

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    Aug 13, 2017 at 9:16 AM

    To PrettyQueenBee, our policy is not written down anywhere. It is communicated to us from the central administration. There has been a lot of confusion when teachers try to put any type of stipulation or limits on it. Basically, we are told that we are not teaching responsibility, only content. So we also don't have homework that can be graded or deadlines. Taking off points for late work can get a teacher in trouble, if a parent complains. However, in reality, my students would turn every assignment in the day before grades are due, if we let them. As you can imagine, teachers have fought some of these policies to hold students accountable and were shot down. If they had the policy in writing somewhere it would clear things up, but it never it. I guess so admin. can change it up to keep parents happy.

    The math teachers really have the hardest time because kids might want to take a retest the day before the quarter ends. A lot of times the student also fails the retest because they have done no studying or tutoring before the test. I like your school policy a lot better.
     
  8. a2z

    a2z Phenom

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    Aug 13, 2017 at 10:00 AM

    The biggest issue I see with retakes is that it is just shoved into a system of education not designed for content mastery. It makes it difficult to try to work two systems at once. Then there is the difference in attitude regarding how fast students learning content as a measure of competence.
     
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  9. PrettyQueenBee

    PrettyQueenBee Rookie

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    Aug 13, 2017 at 1:12 PM

    Oh wow, I would hate working under those conditions. We are absolutely allowed to take off points for late assignments or projects. There's no magical number, so it's at a teacher's discretion if we want to take off 10 or 20 points for lateness. The district tries to preach accountability for all parties involved. If a student doesn't show their work, but gets the right answer- I can give half credit (or no credit) and I won't get in trouble. If a student is failing math, science, or English, we have something called "intervention" where the student has to attend school for 2 hours after school. It's kind of like a mixture of tutoring and night school. If a student earned an F, we can give them one with no problems. But if there's a certain percentage of students failing your class, the district WILL be contacting you. We had a physics teacher get walking papers over failing a lot of students. Our policies aren't perfect, but for the most part they side with their teachers. We are absolutely allowed to alter versions of our retakes. I've always wondered how English and science teacher altered theirs? Math is super easy to alter for obvious reasons.

    And I always make sure to let my retakers know that this policy won't exist in college. In college, if you made a 50 on an exam, it sticks and the professor moves on. The *MOST* a professor will do is drop the lowest test score. And not every professor does that. Students must learn some responsibility and be held accountable. Luckily, our district supports this.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2017 at 3:45 PM
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  10. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Groupie

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    Aug 13, 2017 at 1:37 PM

    It's surprising to me whenever I hear someone trying to impress others with how hard their class is by how many students they fail. Sounds like your school is better off without that person.
     
  11. PrettyQueenBee

    PrettyQueenBee Rookie

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    Aug 13, 2017 at 3:41 PM

    Not to sound ugly, but trust me the school was better off without that teacher. I taught pre-calc last year. One of the topics I had in common with that teacher's class was Vectors. We also had a lot of the same students. When I taught vectors, they told me they understood it better in my class. But when they went to the AP physics, they didn't understand it. I didn't like hearing that. But the teacher was a former college professor with a PhD in physics, so I think they were trying to "send a message." These are high school students! I'm not saying dumb down the curriculum (because I definitely don't), but I feel like we must make learning enjoyable. It's all about having that balance. Once a student gets into pre-calc (or higher), it's about knowing *why* they're applying this formula or that formula. But I don't force them to memorize formulas. On tests, I have a formula sheet ready for them or I'll write them on the board. I'm not trying to breed a bunch of androids in my class. lmao! What good does it do to memorize a busload of formulas if you don't know *how* to use them or *why* you're using them? As the "baby teacher" of the mathematics department working with a bunch of older mathematicians, the majority felt like I was pacifying my pre-calc class. I've had countless debates with some of them. But a lot of my students went on to AP calc and passed their tests, so obviously I did something right. ;-)
     
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  12. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Rookie

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    Aug 14, 2017 at 5:24 AM

    Interesting take with the formulas. My general philosophy is, if I show you where it comes from, you have to memorize it. If I don't, then you don't. For instance, I derive in class the quadratic formula, the Law of Cosines, several of the formulas for sequences and series, several of the basic trig identities etc. These they must memorize. The idea is, if you don't remember it, well you can always derive it : ) If the formula is not one I derive in class, such as the compound interest formula, then I'll provide it.

    Also we used to teach vectors in precalculus, but we all agreed to knock it off and let the physics teachers take those.
     
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  13. Obadiah

    Obadiah Habitué

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    Aug 14, 2017 at 6:44 AM

    Concerning the original argument, I agree, we need discussion, both pros and cons, in order to grow. When we're discussing education, education is science, and as a recent editorial in my local paper commented, science is not exact. The very nature of science is that it is peer reviewed and constantly changing.

    It's also good to have beliefs, even strong beliefs, even to be convinced that one is right in those beliefs; without such conviction, many advancements would never have occurred. I just recently read about the newer programming method for artificial intelligence, how no one accepted that person's ideas, but that person's ideas eventually became the standard for such programming. It's OK to be right, but it's also OK to be wrong.

    Today, however, and perhaps throughout human history (?), many people feel threatened by listening to another's ideas. It seems as if the current media is playing to this. One side has a list of beliefs and the other side has another list. The ideology becomes established that all of side A's beliefs are absolute and all of side B's beliefs are falsehood. This is DANGEROUS! This gives too much power to side A. This ideology allows side A to add additional questionable beliefs that can no longer be questioned. If side A's disciples must adhere to side A's complete philosophy, then to disagree is heresy, and side A becomes despotic.

    So, not only on forums such as this, but especially in our classrooms, polite discussion and disagreement should be encouraged, not condemned. The first day of school, even elementary school, I always tell the students that we are allowed to disagree with each other; they are even allowed to disagree with me. Of course we also discuss how to politely disagree rather than futilely or rudely argue. We need to prepare students to be open minded thinkers.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2017 at 6:55 AM
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  14. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Groupie

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    Aug 14, 2017 at 7:07 AM

    Since you bring up Science, I must also point out that the NGSS expects students to learn to argue in a professional way. It's going to be hard to do that if the adults don't feel capable of participating.
     
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  15. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Aficionado

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    Aug 14, 2017 at 7:08 AM

    I think things go downhill when people accuse others of being WRONG even though something might be their opinion on a topic. If it is their opinion then I can see how saying they are wrong can upset them. Just because your opinion isn't the same doesn't mean it's wrong. There are just certain people who take certain "sides" all the time and it's quite tiresome so I usually just take everything with a few grains of salt.
     
  16. a2z

    a2z Phenom

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    Aug 14, 2017 at 9:34 AM

    You are going to be upset because I think that your opinion is wrong. Opinions can be wrong. Opinions are based off of a viewpoint or argument. Sometimes it is based off of a feeling, but almost everyone has some "fact" to justify their opinion. Those "facts" can be completely inaccurate or one rare example could be used to generalize to determine the final opinion. There are opinions that lurk in the grey areas where there is information supporting many sides. Many of these opinions (on both sides) are supported with less than strong "facts" which are often presented as data that has been cherry-picked by those wanting to make a specific case then used by others to support their opinions. There is so much of this slanted data and studies floating around that most opinion is biased.

    Also, many people get upset even if you say you disagree with their opinion and state a differing argument. They also see this as saying they are wrong because anything but agreement shows that their opinion is not accurate (or in other words wrong). I think mostly that people get angry when they can't adequately defend their position. Then they devolve into anger, deflection, and name calling in order to mask the lack of supporting information or lack of additional supporting information.

    I don't understand the idea of "sides". Are you stating that some people dig their heels in despite what you believe as supporting information that indicates otherwise?
     
  17. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Groupie

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    Aug 14, 2017 at 9:45 AM

    The only thing I would disagree with is the idea of many examples of slanted data and studies floating around. I would say with anything, the source matters. There aren't many peer reviewed journals posting slanted data.

    Those examples don't often find their way into legitimate publications. The easiest one I can think of off the top of my head would be the vaccine study from England that was later admitted to being fraud (though that still hasn't changed the minds of many).

    In education, the studies usually are based on studies that came before with a track record to follow. Usually when people disagree with these studies it isn't for researched back reasons, usually it's their anecdotal experience. For example, a literacy strategy which shows promise in a suburban setting might be dismissed by a reader from an urban classroom because "that wouldn't work in my room". There's no science that backs this up (yet), but it is considered gospel by the person saying it.
     
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  18. a2z

    a2z Phenom

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    Aug 14, 2017 at 9:56 AM

    In a system not designed for mastery, this method adds work for teachers. It also can be implemented poorly to cut down the work then giving students more ways to game the system.

    I do believe in student mastery, and that is not obtained by the previous teach, review, and test method where if students got it great, if not there wasn't much more done and it was on the student to figure out how to learn the material that still wasn't mastered, usually on their own. In this method the student is almost always blamed for the lack of learning.

    When faced with measures of accountability on teachers, teachers will almost all stand as a whole professing that students learn at different rates. Not every student will be able to master the content at the same pace or with the same information. So, why is it that when we have a 3 week timeframe to teach a topic, review, and test, it then becomes the student's fault they didn't master the material?

    I don't believe in a system of retakes where there is no additional instruction for the student and no measures a student must take prior to a retake. Without instruction that implementation almost always encourages a student to take the original test as a preview of what is needed, except for those with easy mastery of the material who don't want to be bothered taking it again. I do believe in creating a system that helps students master material, especially the basics. Students need to be able to read well, comprehend language well, write well, and calculate and apply math well in order to have the ability to have flexibility in life after school. Some kids will take longer than others to learn this material, but the current system is set up to demoralize those who can't keep pace and to put them in their societal place by those who learn easier. They are blamed for their failing to fit in the artificial structure created to educate them.

    Are retakes the solution? In a system that is designed to present, review, and measure and move on, I see it as the only option available to encourage mastery if implemented properly, but I do see it as a method that is a Band-Aid rather than a real solution to the educational problems we have in our country.
     
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  19. a2z

    a2z Phenom

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    Aug 14, 2017 at 10:17 AM

    We will just have to disagree for now.

    At present, researchers and journals across the globe are looking for ways to eliminate the implicit bias that has been found in peer-reviewed research. They have found that there is bias when someone who is reviewing agrees with the hypothesis, the author is well-known or respected, the location of the research is well-known or respected, and other forms of bias.

    Here is an interesting article and many more can be found about the problems of peer-reviewed research and the errors.

    http://theweek.com/articles/618141/big-science-broken
     
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  20. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Groupie

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    Aug 14, 2017 at 12:00 PM

    Umm, the article is one click removed from a Religious organization... Do they do much detailed scientific research there or just criticize actual scientists? If a student submitted such a source I think we'd ask them to determine if that was a legitimate source for the topic at hand.

    I'm all for religion and am a practicing Catholic. I don't consult the Pope on scientific research. Mainly because he didn't study science, he studied religion.
     

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