The History of Standardized Testing and History on the Standardized Te
Oct 30, 2011 Teaching 2255 Views
Perhaps, it shouldn't be too surprising that kids today in school know less of their history then they have at anytime the prior. One of the major problems of course is the ESL (English as a Second Language) challenges, because kids who don't speaking English have a tough time learning anything, including history. Another problem perhaps is the lack of control in the classroom due to individual disruptors and overall behavior, coupled with the fact that teachers are not allowed to discipline like they used to for fear of lawsuits or loss of their job.
There was an interesting article not too long ago in the Wall Street Journal on June 5 teen, 2011 titled "Students Stumble Again on the Basics of History - National Tests Show Little Progress and Grasping Democracy, US Role in the World," by Stephanie Banchero. A the article stated that;
"Fewer than a quarter of all American 12th-graders new China was North Korea's ally during the Korean War, and only 35% of fourth graders knew that the purpose of the Declaration of Independence, according to national history test scores."
The article went on to discuss the percentages of students which knew this, that, or the other thing, all things which are common knowledge throughout our society today. The statistics were rather alarming, and shocking to anyone who knows even a little bit of history, and would make one ask; what on earth are we teaching these kids?
Now then, many students feel that they shouldn't have to learn history, because they can always look it up anytime they want on Google, Yahoo, or Bing. And there are always sites like Wikipedia that have their answer for them within 0.0873478 seconds. This is a common excuse that kids make for not wishing to do their homework, or study our history. Many teachers and parents now agree that perhaps learning history isn't as important as it once was, because that information is always available, all the time online.
Whereas this is a good excuse I suppose, we also know that "those that fail to study their history are doomed to repeat it," and we have been doing a lot of repeating recently in our own history. In fact, one might add that is shocking how people vote today, not realizing how we built this great nation in the first place. Thus, there is a little bit of history that everyone should know, and we seem to be falling down in that regard in our schools.
Perhaps, however it is not the teachers who are necessarily to blame, but rather the changes in society, the attention span of our youth, behavior at home, and the abundance of data, and distraction which is omnipresent in the information age. Indeed I'd like you to please consider all this and think on it.