Education Assignment Case Study on Graduation Test

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Graduation Test

Sarah teaches math at the high school level in a state that has mandated standard achievement testing annually for all students. Sarah has never been a fan of these tests due to lost instruction time, and the fact that many students don’t give their best effort. Because of the latter, she believes that their scores on the tests don’t accurately reflect what they are capable of doing. Last year, she collected a test answer sheet that had bubbles filled in the shape of Mickey Mouse’s head. The student obviously scored below state standards on the test, yet he was one of her top-performing students in class.

Over the past five years, the state has begun to tie some aspects of school funding to student performance on these tests, although many students have continued not to take them seriously. But Sarah believes that their attitude is about to change. This year the state has instituted a new rule: in order to graduate from high school, students must meet state standards on the mandated test.

In the weeks prior to the test, Sarah explains the new state policy to her students.

“You mean I really won’t graduate if I don’t pass this stupid test?” asks Charlie.

“That’s right, Charlie,” answers Sarah. “This time your scores don’t just matter to the school. This time they matter to each and every one of you as individuals.

“Wait till my dad hears about this!” exclaims Roger. “He’s gonna pop a blood vessel if I don’t pass this thing.”

“Don’t worry, kids. We’re going to spend some time prepping for this. We all know the kinds of items to expect. We also know what the test will cover. The state isn’t out to ensure that only geniuses get diplomas. They just want to make sure that you have met the standards they have set. You can all do this.”

“Yeah, right,” complains Sue. “The only reason I was gonna graduate is because I’ve been takin’ easy classes. I’ve never met state standards in math, and I don’t see how I’ll do it this time, either.”

“If we don’t pass, doesn’t that mean that teachers screwed up?” asks another student. “Why do we have to pay for the school’s problems?”

Sarah spends the next several weeks with her students helping them to prepare for the test. They examine copies of tests from previous years. They take practice exams. They work on basic algebra skills that they know will be covered by the test rather than continuing with their more advanced curriculum. In short, everything, except for the test, is placed on hold. And Sarah is not the only one to do this. An English teacher, Jacob, spends time working with students on isolated vocabulary rather than reading Shakespeare. Phil, a social studies teacher, concentrates on memorization of the U.S. Constitution, rather than letting students debate the legality of various government practices.

The school counselor joins in also. She teaches the students relaxation techniques and offers counseling for anybody who has severe test anxiety. She uses cognitive-behavior therapy to help them deal with the stress of a test of this magnitude. Several students avail themselves of her services.

Several parent meetings are held at the school to inform parents of the importance of the test and enlist their aid in encouraging their children to do their best. Many of the parents are very angry. Unfortunately, nobody from the state is there to receive that anger. It falls instead on the teachers and administrators, as if they had a choice in the matter.

The day of the test, the students are all wound tighter than clocks.

“At least they’re taking it seriously this time,” comments Sarah.

Students, parents, and school personnel all wait anxiously for the results. Most students are found to meet state standards and will graduate. However, some don’t pass. These students will have to attend remedial education programs and try the test again. Some of these students, of course, will never return for those courses. Some are students who have done fairly well in their coursework, yet for some reason didn’t do well on the test.

1. What are the issues in this case?

  • The case has several issues. Have an overall understanding in the first go and brainstorming, to avoid missing on identifying issues in the case.
  • Please consider the perspectives of all the parties involved in the case when formulating the issues to be considered under the case.

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2.What are the advantages and disadvantages of requiring high school seniors to pass a test in order to graduate?

  • Mention the new test introduced and its requirements to be passed.
  • When discussing the advantages and disadvantages try giving a reason for a point to be considered as an advantage or a disadvantage as identified in the case setting. Also relate it to an identified party in the case who is being benefitted by the advantage and suffering based on the disadvantage.

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3.How do you feel about testing such as this? Why?

  • Present both the point of views” for” and “against” to make your answer wholesome.
  • When answering the “why” stick to personal opinion, don’t relate it to any other’s perspective as mentioned in the case.

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4. Some districts tie teacher pay to student performance on tests. What do you think of this practice? Why?

  • State a clear support or disagreement to the point in question.
  • Give an estimation that depicts what kind of contribution of a teacher is justified in a student’s performance. Give a clear reason, if you state that contribution of teacher is high, then why teacher’s pay should not be tied to student’s performance.
  • Give justification to all points mentioned by you in the answer.

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