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Standardized Testing And Its Impact On Critical Thinking

11:11 PM, Sep 28, 2011   |    comments
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Greensboro, NC -- Standardized tests, whether they're E.O.Gs or S.A.Ts, are designed to determine how much students learn in school.

But some argue that students focus on memorizing to pass the tests and don't retain the information. How far does it go? Does it affect the critical thinking skills of adults?

Dr. Anthony Graham, Chair of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at North Carolina A&T State University joined Frank Mickens to talk about testing versus thinking.

Dr. Graham said these days there is a great deal of memorization in schools as students do what they have to do get through the test. He also touched on the fact that some teachers teach to the tests because their job may depend on it. Dr. Graham said both factors can mean students may lose their critical thinking skills as a result.

When asked if there's a way we can change the system to test students critical thinking skills, Dr. Graham referenced a colleagues' theory that the Department of Motor Vehicles is a great example. In order to get your license, you have to take a written test and then they put you in the car to see if your skills match your knowledge and the instructor also watches your attitude to watch your disposition.

Dr. Graham said there are three dimension of learning: cognitive, psychomotor, and affective (or knowledge, skills, and disposition). Dr. Graham said modern day testing only looks at the cognitive aspect. He said there needs to be a testing model that moves towards including all three dimensions to see whether or not the student has learned. But Graham pointed out cost and time tend to be issues blocking such a testing model from being developed.

To watch more of the interview, watch play in the video window.

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