America 's Public Education System Essay

1836 Words Dec 11th, 2016 8 Pages
The purpose of America’s public education system is rooted in the need for the public to be able to read and write, but the goals of the current system are shrouded by the cover of standardized testing. The push for testing throughout the states has transformed the way that teachers and administrators try to address the academic needs of their students; by “teaching to the test,” teachers can justify their curricular decisions because they are aligned with the goals set by the state board of education. Standards guide the curricular decisions made by teachers because they are aligned with the content of these tests. The idea that standards help teachers assess the knowledge that students have gained over an academic year is valid, but in practice a single test cannot accurately measure the academic skills that students have developed. Skills are harder to assess than knowledge; essential metacognitive skills like literacy, critical thinking, and communication cannot be measured through multiple choice and extended response questions alone. The social studies classroom is a place where students develop the skills to navigate the world around them. According to the American Institute for Research (2011), “metacognition refers to one’s ability to use prior knowledge to plan a strategy for approaching a learning task, take necessary steps to problem solve, reflect on and evaluate results, and modify one’s approach as needed” (p. 32). The social studies educator’s goal is to…

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