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Are Standardized Tests Really Effective Anymore? (Essay Sample)


In the structure of a classical argument answer Are Standardizes Tests Effective Today? They are supposed to measure a person's skills and progress, but what if you're a bad test taker or simply don't care about the tests? Colleges are supposed to look at your ACT/SAT scores. (my conclusion/answer) It should be argumentatively rich, including different viewpoints on the issue. There should be more than one reasonable answer, but with mine as the ultimate conclusion. The paper needs to be 1700-2000 words with eight sources, three of which need to be scholarly sources.

Formal Writing Assignment #3: Argument
(Based on Writing Arguments: A Rhetoric with Readings)
Writing Task
This paper requires that you use the skills learned in the previous formal essays to first inquire into a significant question, analyze other arguments and positions that try to answer the question, and then formulate your own claim or "answer" and present it in argument form. Depending on your topic and your audience (our classroom community) you may choose from a variety of argument types. You may choose classical argument format (p. 59), a definitional argument (p.244-245), a causal argument (p. 254-284), or a proposal argument (p. 328). Note that you should choose the argument type after you have developed your issue question and working thesis statement (a provisional 'claim with reason'). You may also choose to incorporate several argument types into a hybrid argument (see p. 220-221).
As with the exploratory essay assignment, you should first formulate a question that truly interests you, a problem or concern that puzzles you and which is significant and worth exploring. It should be argumentatively rich; that is, there should exist many different viewpoints on the issue. As with the exploratory essay, we will define an "issue" as a question or problem for which there is more than one reasonable answer. That is, answers that can be supported with solid reasons and evidence. Begin by brainstorming issues - use the hints on pages 24-25 of our text to get ideas. You might think of a question related to different social groups or communities, or to issues important in other courses or disciplines, such as psychology, nursing, criminal justice, or sociology. You may choose to explore an issue unrelated to any college course or you may decide to explore further any of the topics we've encountered in our readings and class discussions.
And, as was mentioned with the exploratory essay, some topics that you may well be discussing in other courses are, however, "verboten" in English classes, as they are unlikely to generate any new thinking or ideas - a key objective of composition classes. The most commonly "banned" topics are: abortion, capital punishment, gun control, euthanasia, marijuana legalization, the raising of the minimum drinking age ... and similar "well-worn" topics. Before developing your essay, you will submit an essay prospectus that must be approved by the instructor, in any event.
Essay Requirements
- Your essay should be 1700 - 2000 words in length. You must use MLA style and formatting (see Chapter 17, Citing and Documenting Sources. An example of an MLA paper is provided on pages 334-338).
- Follow the organization plan outlined on the above mentioned pages of the text, depending on your choice of claim type. Refer to the student essay in the relevant chapter as a model.
- Cite at least seven outside sources with a minimum of three scholarly sources (online
magazine, newspaper, or journal articles - I recommend accessing these through the Osterlin Library databases) within your essay using attributive tags for your paraphrases or direct quotations. Note: no long quotations are permitted. If in doubt about the suitability of a source, please ask the instructor or a librarian for advice.

- An MLA style Works Cited page will be the last page of the essay (not part of the word count).
- Include two earlier drafts as well as copies of the sources you researched and cited in your essay. Note: I will not grade the final essay if these invention materials are missing.
Grading Guidelines
I will use the following as the main criteria to assess your essay (see also the rubric document attached):
- The introductory paragraph(s) provide(s) context and background for the reader while briefly introducing the writer's claim with reason.
- The writer presents reasons (and backing for the warrant, if necessary) and supports these with evidence and a variety of appeals that connect to the beliefs and values of the audience.
- The writer anticipates opposing views and fairly summarizes these before responding through rebuttal or concession.
- The writer ends the essay in a memorable way, perhaps pointing to an even larger significance of the claim, beyond the specific issues(s) discussed, or with a call to action.
- All seven sources are appropriately integrated and correctly documented.
- The paper is formatted in MLA style.

Are Standardized Tests Really Effective Anymore?
One of the debates that are raising a lot of controversy in the education sector is the relevance of standardized tests. Critics of standardized tests argue that the focus on testing not only denies students much valuable learning time, but also places unwarranted emphasis on meaningless test scores that interferes with teachers’ performance assessments. They further claim that teachers’ concerns about the performance of students in the tests compels them to spend more time teaching to the test instead of directing students’ attention toward long term educational activities and strategies that enhance creative learning. One reason they cite is that standardized scores tend to measure what learners know or are expected to know at a given time, rather than their overall competencies. However, this argument is one-sided as it fails to take into consideration the objectives that standardized tests are intended to achieve. As a measure of learners’ progress, standardized tests help educators and policy makers to determine whether the education system is meeting students’ learning needs. In addition, standardized testing is one way of holding the education system accountable by evaluating learners’ progress. Moreover, standardized tests allow teachers to evaluate the effectiveness of their teaching methods in light of students’ test scores. In this regard, this essay argues that standardized tests play an important role in assessing learners’ progress, encouraging accountability in the education system, and evaluating the effectiveness of teaching approaches.
Standardized testing has become a prominent feature in the American school system following the implementation of the No Child Left Behind program. One of the learning situations that the policy and its testing-intensive approach aimed to address was declining student perfo...
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