Monday, April 14, 2008

Dumbing Down: Then And Now (Forum)

This 8th Grade test from Kansas (hat tip the Instapundit)has been largely debunked as a hoax. But here is a more a deeper question hinted at by the guys at Classical Values a couple of years ago--why not take the test at face value and upgrade it a little. How many Kansas teenagers, say high school seniors, could pass this test?

You could update the test a little and maybe take out some of the more specific agricultural references, but still at the core it is not an unreasonable test in some ways. The history section, the language arts section and what not still apply and one wonders how many students would pass such a test.

Some of these items are mere factual questions, i.e. dates etc. But while one need not know in depth every event of American history, there are some key dates and those dates should be readily known. Additionally, basics of grammar, orthography (spelling to you and I), georgraphy, history and math without a calculator are important skills. Why should we simply rely upon the usefulness of the internet to find out answers? Why can't we have students armed with basic information in their heads who can then supplement it with research skills as necessary?

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