Aveneu Park, Starling, Australia

For a passage to see how many

For most people English might not be there first language but since English is a universal language, it’s a necessitate. I grew up learning Spanish before English, reading and hearing Spanish being spoken in my household. I started learning English when I began elementary school, since English was my second language I was signed up to attend a program the school offered called ESL. This program was for students whose first language was not English, where we would learn how to read, write, and be tested on our comprehension to see how much we have progressed. Once I was ready to graduate from the program, I would first be put into doing a standardized test to show that I was ready to move on from ESL. Being prepared for and taking standardized testing became a regular routine beginning from elementary school to high school.  During my time in ESL, I would have to go through a series of standardized tests to show that I was learning English and understanding the language as well. I remember a part of the test where I was being timed on reading a passage to see how many words I could read in a minute. After the teacher would take the passage away, I would have to answer some questions on my understanding of the reading. The first couple of times, I would just read the passage as fast as I could but then when I had to answer the questions about the reading I would not be able to remember what I had just read.  The time limit affected me because I thought that it was more important for me to show that I could read the passage than to answer the questions. However, by doing so I would not get a good score on this part as I was not able to complete all the parts. Then I realized I needed to take more time into reading the passage and understanding what was going on in the reading even if I read less in the minute given. This was a frustrating time for me as I was trying to figure out what was the best approach to this test. I had to come up with a strategy on how fast or slow I should read the passage but also remember what I was reading to answer the following questions. Entering the standardized test with a strategy, I was able to pass ESL. Throughout elementary and beginning of junior high I moved schools often throughout the years. The schools I moved to were all in the same district and I realized standardized testing was a common priority. The ultimate goal in each school was for teachers to give practice to students on how to take the standardized tests. I learned many ways on how to approach different types of questions and how to respond the proper way to get full points. The problem with that is that students can then start to retain the information on how to answer those types of questions so that they can get higher scores. When in reality at the end of the test and all the practicing students will only remember the methods learned that helped them get through the tests instead.  I can relate to this because when I took the writing and reading standardized tests I remembered methods we had learned in class previously. I remember that when we did practice essays for the writing portion of the test, the teacher would time us. We would have to start off with brainstorming topics for the prompt given, then do a rough draft and finish with a final. The teacher would tell us the recommended time we should spend on each part in order to finish all parts and answer correctly. This was not an easy task for me to do because I had a hard time starting and therefore I would fall behind on the timing. My writing during this time was not something I was proud of because I felt like this was not my best work since I was being rushed. This was no different when the time came to take the standardized tests, I struggled to come up with ideas for the prompts. Therefore, I would try not to take so long on the brainstorming/rough draft part like I had in the practice ones so that I could get to the final draft and have enough time to finish all parts. These tests put an enormous amount of pressure on students before and during the time of standardized testing. Students feel the pressure because they know the score they get on the tests will show their knowledge on the subject. One test that is given to all students with all the same components, time, and practice. The test may be the exact same for all students but not all students are identical. Each student is different in the form of how they learn, whether English is there first language, and many more factors. The structure to standardized tests seem more of a routine to me, showing students how to take the test. So much time is being spent in class so that students could practice this format and know how to answer the questions correctly. Are students really learning the subject when they are being put under pressure to take a test that is so designed for more on how to take a test rather than the actual knowledge of the subject. As long as I followed the format and structure I learned in class, I got better at test taking the standardized tests. Doing so, I felt like I was not really learning how to read passages and answer questions or write essays in a limited time, but more on learning strategies to be a test taker.


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