Public School vs. Homeschool Reading Comprehension

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Public School vs. Homeschool Reading Comprehension

Postby amazeandgrace » Mon May 11, 2009 5:04 pm

Hi all! ( I do have a question at the end I need an answer to)
Recently I gave my girls a previously released version of our state's standardized test. This was mainly for my hubby's peace of mind, we do not have to test in Texas. They did well, but this brought on some questions for me.
My daughter was doing the reading comprehension section and read one of the short stories. The story was about a girl who cares for a deaf dog. One of the questions she had to answer was: "Which of the following statements shows that the owner was a patient person." She answered and got it wrong. The "correct" answer was the statement that indicated "it took a lot of time to train such a dog". My daughter's answer was the statement that said the "owner asked others to not wake the dog when he's sleeping."
Now in my daughter's opinion, they both convey the owner is patient. She enjoyed the short story (as much she could while taking a stinky test!). She related the dog owner to an empathetic and patient person. And honestly, someone can endure a time consuming situation without being a patient person!!! In my opinion, she went above and beyond comprehension. I feel the test tried to make a matter of opinion into a matter of fact with the test question. I'm not trying to be a smart aleck (sp?) here.
This reminded me of how frustrated I would get taking tests in public school. If you would take the tests knowing the answers you were expected to to take the test the way they wanted you too...all the while wanting to give your own answer that you knew would be "wrong" in the teacher's eyes.
Makes me soooo glad I homeschool my kiddos! I'd much rather my child relate to and be consumed by a story/article...then just get the facts and "their right answers". How can a test or teacher tell you that there is only one right way to feel about, interpret and understand what a unique author wrote? I guess in public school there is only room for one universal answer and I realize they are testing for comprehension. I think comprehension is far too unique to be tested and limited like this! And I find it sad that the public schools have to test so much that there's not much time to really learn to understand and enjoy literature that was created for just that!
They don't have to take a test now....but to get into college will they have to "comprehend" according to these silly rules? Or will their personal understanding and interpretation be valued?

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Postby ncmom » Mon May 11, 2009 5:53 pm

I am going to answer from my personal experiences...YES! The college entrance exam is like taking a standardized test. They will have to follow those silly rules all the way through college too. When I was in college my opinion didn't matter if it was different from the instructors. You basically don't have an opinion. You either agree with the instructors interpretation or the books authors interpretation or you were wrong. It is sad that colleges don't value an independent, original thinker. They just want memorize and regurgitate students.

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Postby Jill » Tue May 12, 2009 6:28 am

I would also agree. I have tried to teach my kids that standardized tests don't require alot of creative thought. (I have one child like yours who is a creative thinker and can come up with alot of different reasons why not waking the dog can show patience.)

BUT...that is not how the majority of the kids who take these kinds of tests. Patience means being being steadfast despite difficulty and the choice about it taking a long time to train would most easily fit the definition.

We do have to test, so during the regular course of our life, I try to teach them to "think outside the box," I have also tried to teach my kids to not think "outside the box" when testing. It has been hard, but as they have gotten older and had a little more practice, they can make the switch more easily.

It's a shame, but it's part of our society. They need to learn to "play the game" if they are going to be requried to take these kinds of tests in their lives.
Last edited by Jill on Sun May 17, 2009 8:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Theodore » Fri May 15, 2009 4:56 pm

I hate questions where the "correct" answer changes depending on your point of view. Those questions are usually designed with the express purpose of training you to think a certain way, rather than just testing your educational level.

For instance, the classic cannibals in the lifeboat dilemma.

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