Xiao-Ming Li’s teaching to the test
It’s not surprising that countries other then America are teaching for the test. Li explains how students in his country were being taught to write for the Imperial Civil Service Exam, and then when it was no longer a necessity teacher’s began teaching students how to pass the university entrance exam. The idea of teaching writing for the purpose of doing well on a writing exam standardizes the concept of writing and makes it “easier to teach.” It’s easy to teach students a formula “five paragraph essay.” Follow the structure and just add commentary to topic sentences. This approach can help you pass a high school exit exam but what does it teach you about writing.
Xiao-Ming Li’s experience studying the structures of text in order to mimic its structure of writing frightens me. If school curriculum can be this militant how can students reverse the effects. If a student has been taught to stick to a stringent structure how do we as teachers bring up the concept of self-identity with the student? Is it possible for these students to learn how to express themselves after being controlled to write for a test?
Many students in America are facing this problem. High schools are crafting students to become test writers. They perform at a level that will help them pass a high school exit exam put fall apart at the idea of writing an essay in the first person. Can these students be saved or do they perpetuate a system that will continue to create robots?