Two articles in Daily news on problems with testing culture that leads to "cheating"
- The opt-ed below is about Stuyvesant and the testing culture, but there is another article that I could not find online called: "Lesson Pans: Competitive nature fueling cheating, say experts & kids" by Ben Chapman. Excerpt: "Cheating is so widespread at Stuyvesant that school staffers used temporary metal detectors in 2009 to detect banned cell phones during exams. "Kids are so desperate, they make the wrong decision", said a Brooklyn principal.
- Bukiet is terrific... local guy. Two daughters went to Stuyvesant.
www.ourstrongband.orgNeal H. HurwitzNY, NY-----Original Message-----
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Subject: [nyceducationnews] Two articles in Daily news on problems with testing culture that leads to "cheating"The opt-ed below is about Stuyvesant and the testing culture, but there is another article that I could not find online called: "Lesson Pans: Competitive nature fueling cheating, say experts & kids" by Ben Chapman. Excerpt: "Cheating is so widespread at Stuyvesant that school staffers used temporary metal detectors in 2009 to detect banned cell phones during exams. "Kids are so desperate, they make the wrong decision", said a Brooklyn principal.
Why smart kids cheat
Stuyvesant scandal is product of a win-at-all-costs academic culture
BY MELVIN JULES BUKIET / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
SUNDAY, JULY 1, 2012, 6:15 AM
SUSAN WATTS/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Students at prestigious Stuyvesant High School are involved in a cheating scandal.S tudents cheat. Stop the presses! Smart students cheat. Holy Appaloosa!Like adults, young people under enormous pressure do things that they know are wrong. Who woulda thunk?It is surely a scandal that a group of students from Stuyvesant High School — famously harder to get into than Harvard, primarily because it has no dormitories worth naming — were caught cheating on their Regents exams with cell phones.But the scandal is not that today’s young people lack a moral compass. Rather, it’s that we’ve imposed upon our brightest teenagers a system that drives them crazy and impels them to act contrary to their nature.Disclosure: My two daughters attended Stuyvesant, though I believe that neither cheated: L. because she cared about schoolwork and M. because she didn’t give a fig.Both, however, were tempted by the do-anything-for-an-extra- point ethos. One said that her homeroom teacher posted the three highest GPAs in the class on the board every semester. Was this supposed to boost morale? If so, I’m not sure how well it worked.Many Stuy students treated cheating as a contest in which barriers were raised by the administration, only to be surmounted and subverted by the students. Some worked harder at finagling their tests than others did studying for those same tests.The frenzy is justified because grades can have real effects on a student’s life. For example, they determine whether a senior will gain admission to an acceptable university or be forced to commit ritual suicide at the shame of a non-Ivy League degree.And then, many scholarships are based entirely on grades. This is insidious because it creates an atmosphere in which cheating literally pays. Also, it creates an atmosphere in which students are tempted to take the easiest courses to obtain the easiest A’s.What baffles me is how grades can possibly be taken seriously by anyone who has spent more than 10 minutes in an academic institution. Clearly, one teacher’s B is another teacher’s A and vice versa. And even if grades were determined according to identical criteria, they’d still mean little because learning itself is not quantifiable.Sure, tests like the Regents or the SATs may be useful as diagnostic tools, but they are hopeless as ultimate judgments. And, yes, that goes for science and math courses as well as “soft” subjects like history and literature.Instead, what’s needed is a qualitative rather than quantitative measurement, something that informs outsiders of student accomplishment while encouraging students to learn for learning’s sake. Education is about figuring how to use a mind rather than how to fill it, with the test as a crude dipstick.And grades are a cheap device for schools that don’t have the patience to consider students as individuals or the confidence to make real judgments about learning.As students undermine the grading/testing system by cheating, the system itself cheats students by treating them as nothing more than numbers. The same inane obsession created the SAT scandal on Long Island, where college students took tests for high-schoolers.It also shaped the No Child Left Behind scandal, in which teachers and administrators fudged numbers to receive federal funds.Back in high school, I was in a class with a math whiz named Jim. For a final, our teacher gave us a test of five questions. Everyone in the class besides Jim correctly answered four out of the five — the same four because none of us could begin to understand the fifth — and received an 80.Jim was bored by the first four questions and ignored them. The last, however, interested him, so he solved it and received a 20. Where is he today? All I can say for sure is that he’s not the principal of Stuyvesant High School.Bukiet, a novelist, teaches at Sarah Lawrence College.
Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/smart-kids-cheat-article-1.1105034#ixzz1zO57wkXa