Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Krashen on cramming and "fun stuff"

Sent to the Taipei Times, March 12

Cramming for tests vs. "fun stuff" in school

"In Taiwan, we don't dare open our mouths in the
classroom. We just cram for tests here. But in the US,
the students there do stuff -- fun stuff." Angel Chen,
student (quoted in "Stint at US school an eye-opener
for Hualien students," March 11)

Guess what, Angel. Students in the US are getting
less and less of a chance to "fun stuff" and are
spending more and more time cramming for tests, thanks
to "No Child Left Behind" (NCLB) a program that is
turning schools in the US into test preparation
centers. The Bush administration is claiming that
NCLB is working, but every scholar who has examined
the actual data has found that it has had no effect on
national test scores.

Cramming for tests does not seem to help students do
better on tests. All the extra testing has, however,
been of great benefit to the companies that produce
the tests.

Stephen Krashen


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