State exams should test what students need to know
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The sample test questions for the Keystone Exams in the Nov. 11 PG ("Districts Plan for Keystone Exams") are an excellent example of what's wrong with our education system. These questions may be suitable for a very small percentage of Americans, but they are inappropriate for the general education in our high schools.
They are the trivia that infects what we call academic education. This is not information that everyone needs to know and it takes away from that which should be a part of secondary education, and it also includes algebra and other inconsequential requirements. I shall give some alternative questions and studies that should be a part of all our basic education:
Describe the elements that are required to formulate a scientific theory, e.g., gravity and evolution.
Discuss the effects upon a society in which 50 percent of the population is under age 25 and one in which 50 percent is over age 60.
Given that all the founders of America were men of the Enlightenment, discuss the effects of that fact on our government and society.
Elucidate the intent and significance of the Establishment Clause in our Constitution.
Compare and contrast climate and weather.
What is a double blind study in medical research?
What is the double bind in human psychology?
What do we mean by fossil fuel and what is its origins?
What were Jim Crow laws?
What is the international dateline, where is it and why?
What is meant by the phrase he can't see the forest because of the trees?
These test questions are derived from some of the information and concepts we all should know. Do you understand the difference? If not, you are part of the problem.
DAVID N. CAMPBELL
First Published November 23, 2012 12:00 am