You Can’t Bubble Literacy … A College Freshman Calls Out Standardized Testing for What It Is.

I blog alot. This blog,  entitled  “You Can’t Bubble Literacy”  was written by a college freshman. No doubt it will be the blog that makes me the most proud. Why? Simple.


This blog was written by my daughter: 

“Christina Haas and Linda Flower’s Reading Strategies and Construction of Meaning tackles the question: What makes a ‘good’ reader? Their results show that experienced, graduate-level readers tend to be more rhetorical in their reading approach, going beyond “knowledge-getting” (136) reading and more into the territory of in-depth analysis.

However, the question always remains: Who’s fault is it? Why, as college freshmen, are we programmed to read for information as opposed to rhetoric and content? Throughout twelve years of public education were we not intelligent enough to analyze literature, instead settling for multiple choices and scantrons?

In my opinion, the answer is clear: the testing in our country has made for lazy readers. Now, students know that paraphrasing and skimming is enough to pass a test, and passing a test is enough to pass a grade. The answers are not subjective, as literature should be, but closed off and simplified into four clipped sentence fragments. ‘Rhetoric’ is not a Common Core Standard, at least not one that was ever taught to me. 

As the daughter of two public school teachers, I know better than most how the testing rearranges lesson plans. Until the eleventh grade, seventy-five percent of the year is spent preparing for tests, practicing tests, grading tests, and taking tests. In my mother’s Literature class, only after the test is she able to actually begin teaching…well…Literature.

Haas and Flower explore this topic as well in Reading Strategies, saying, “a content representation is often satisfactory — it certainly meets the needs of many pre-college read-to-take-a-test assignments — it falls short with tasks or texts which require analysis and criticism.” (125) 
Reading for facts, tone, and main idea is second nature to most students, it’s moving beyond that and understanding who the author is, why they’ve written the piece, why they included a certain line, and the message they’re trying to convey that’s difficult.

The answers to these questions, however, are not being taught, due to the fact that the answers to these questions cannot be answered. Not exclusively, at least. As Haas and Flower explain, “…different readers might construct radically different representations of the same text and might use very different strategies to do so.” (124) An author’s symbolism cannot be justifiably understood by anyone but the author, sometimes not even by the author herself, and turning an open-ended question into a multiple-choice bubble test would only end catastrophically for all parties involved. 

My point is, excellent readers are derived from excellent teachers. I have had many excellent teachers throughout my years of middle and high school, however those teachers were limited in the knowledge they were allowed to share with me. Luckily, I lived with one of them. If you may have noticed, as a Florida resident I have not once yet named the standardized test used throughout my state. In my mother’s classroom, it is referred to as the ‘F-Word.’ In my home, the only person allowed to call it by its name is my eight year old sister who, ridiculously enough, will begin her first round of testing this year.

How’s that for progress?”


I know I may be biased… but,

Wow, this kid gets it.





Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s