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Problems In High School Students In 'Race To Nowhere' By Gerald W. Bracey?

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The pressure to do well in high school is one of the most prevalent and emerging problems among students. A study conducted in a high school in Fremont, California found that a shocking 54 percent of students showed symptoms of depression, and 80 percent also suffered from symptoms of anxiety. These alarming findings are not just limited to the high school--according to the to a report from the American Psychological Association, forty-five percent of high school students reported experiencing extreme stress during the school year. If high school students are already mirroring similar stress levels that adults are experiencing, they could potentially steer themselves in the direction for a future of harmful chronic stress and illnesses. Documentary…show more content…
In the documentary film, Race to Nowhere, the author presents hardships that both students and teachers go through from standardized testing. A former teacher in the documentary pointed out that students shouldn’t be learning about how to use a semicolon, but rather how to think critically and innovatively. According to education researcher Gerald W. Bracey, the standardized test can’t measure certain important qualities such as “creativity, critical thinking, curiosity, endurance, self-awareness, self-discipline, leadership, honesty, integrity” (2). While students stress over doing well on the exams, teachers face the pressure of “teaching to the test” and struggle with constructing curriculums that are restricted by standardized testing. A National Research Council report in 2011 claimed that standardized testing was not improving student achievement and how, "despite using them for several decades, policymakers and educators do not yet know how to use test-based incentives to consistently generate positive effects on achievement and to improve education” (83). Emphasizing on doing well on these tests would therefore be ultimately useless and defeat the purpose of measuring a student’s academic progress, because the students are relying on memorization to excel on the exams. After practicing and cramming the question formats into their minds, students will only learn how to solve problems relating to those specific formats. Furthermore, after staying up all night and preparing for the exams, students tend to forget about what they’ve learned a few days later. How then, can students apply what they’ve learned in high school and solve problems in the real
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