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中国式考试

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我们的两个孩子在6岁和8岁的时候,参加考试是学校生活的一部分,就像课间玩捉人游戏或每天听故事一样平常。这里有每周两次的“疯狂一分钟”数学测试,并且测试结果被精心的公之于众。有定期拼写测试。
When my children were 6 and 8, taking tests was as much a part of the rhythm of their school day as tag at recess or listening to stories at circle time. There were the “mad minute” math quizzes twice each week, with the results elaborately graphed. There were regular spelling quizzes. Even today I have my daughter’s minutely graded third-grade science exams, with grades like 23/25 or A minus.
我们生活在中国,在这里他们的学校配备着多数西方初级学校的课程,但强调纪律和考试,完全是亚洲教育风格。在亚洲,孩子们进行如此大规模的考试被认为是天经地义的,不会带来害处或产生焦虑。这给我们带来很大的文化冲击。亚洲父母与西方父母有时常不断的冲突,亚洲父母还希望再多点考试和家庭作业,而西方父母则更关心孩子是不是过的愉快,是不是想要更少的考试和家庭作业。
We were living in China, where their school blended a mostly Western elementary school curriculum with the emphasis on discipline and testing that typifies Asian educational styles. In Asia, such a march of tests for young children was regarded as normal, and not evil or particularly anxiety provoking. That made for some interesting culture clashes. I remember nearly constant tension between the Asian parents, who wanted still more tests and homework, and the Western parents, who were more concerned with whether their kids were having fun — and wanted less.
我依然还记得那个噩梦般的夏日假期,我们就填鸭式的往5岁的儿子脑袋里灌卡片上的知识——他很明显还没有准备好去学习“读”,但通过巨大的努力,流着泪,他还是不情愿的学会了。阅读识字是从幼儿园升入一年级的一项必要条件。如果他不会认字读出题目,他怎么能参加考试和做练习题呢?
I still have occasional nightmares about a miserable summer vacation spent force-feeding flash cards into the brain of my 5-year-old son — who was clearly not “ready” to read, but through herculean effort and tears, learned anyway. Reading was simply a requirement for progressing from kindergarten to first grade. How could he take tests and do worksheets if he couldn’t read the questions?
然而现年16岁和18岁的安德鲁和卡拉却拥有在北京国际学校最温暖的记忆——他们都不明白他们是在接受测试。美国的教育家和家长辩论说新的联邦项目比现在的模式或许让孩子们接触到更多的考试和测验,我时常想起我的孩子们在初等教育阶段的起起落落。怎样才能让一项考试变成一个有趣的挑战而不是引起焦虑的打击?
But Andrew and Cara, now 16 and 18, have only the warmest memories of their years at the International School of Beijing — they mostly didn’t understand that they were being “tested.” As educators and parents in the United States debate new federal programs that will probably expose young children to far more exams and quizzes than is the current norm, I think often of the ups and downs of my children’s elementary education. What makes a test feel like an interesting challenge rather than an anxiety-provoking assault?
对于儿童的测验已失去美国早期儿童教育家的支持很多年了,因为他们担心这会扼杀孩子们的创造力,伤害他们的自尊,不能正确的反应学习风格,影响孩子们的学习速度。(那可能有些是真的,我儿子,受卡片学习的打击,在7岁的时候成了家里求知欲最强的读者。)测验儿童早就失去支持,甚至以测验为基础的不让一个儿童落后法在儿童三年级之前不对儿童进行测试——在这个方面说,一些教育家相信,修正这个缺陷都已经太晚了。
Testing of young children had been out of favor for decades among early-childhood educators in the United States, who worry that it stifles creativity and harms self-esteem, and does not accurately reflect the style and irregular pace of children’s learning anyway. (There may be some truth to that. My son, who suffered the flash card assault, was by age 7 the family’s most voracious reader.) Testing young children has been so out of favor that even the test-based No Child Left Behind law doesn’t start testing students’ reading abilities until after third grade — at which point, some educators believe, it is too late to remedy deficiencies.
但近期,美国教育家们的对儿童“不考试”理念遭到了攻击,因为政府项目正推进这个实践。
But recently, American education’s “no test” philosophy for young children has been coming under assault, as government programs strongly promote the practice.
首先是于2003年生效的不让一个儿童落后法案,要求每州给所有学生进行标准测试来衡量学校教育的进步。
First there was No Child Left Behind, which took effect in 2003 and required states to give all students standardized tests to measure school progress.
现在,奥巴马总统的力争上游教育竞争——本月宣布批准十几亿美元的奖金——包括和鼓励更多教育家所谓的形式化的测试或形式化的评估。这些不是一年一次或一辈子一次的重大的考试,像学术水平测试,而且一系列较小的,意义不是很重大的考试,按照理论涉及,至少能够帮助学生和老师知道他们做的怎样。
Now, President Obama’s Race to the Top educational competition — which announced billions of dollars in state grants this month — includes and encourages more reliance on what educators call “formative tests” or “formative assessments.” These are not the big once-a-year or once-in-a-lifetime exams, like the SATs, but a stream of smaller, less monumental tests, designed in theory, at least, primarily to help students and their teachers know how they’re doing.
一些教育专家为这次的改变而喝彩,因为这是从黑暗时代理念的一次巨大进步。“研究早就发现较多的经常性测试对孩子们是有好处的,但教育家却抵制这个发现,”北卡罗来纳大学教堂山分校的教育测量和评估教授小乔治·西泽克说。
Some education experts hail the change as a step forward from the ideological dark ages. “Research has long shown that more frequent testing is beneficial to kids, but educators have resisted this finding,” said Gregory J. Cizek, a professor of educational measurement and evaluation at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
当然,这些测试必须与年龄相适应,西泽克教授注意到,力争上游项目包括研究发展新考试的资金。让儿童做三页多的多项选择题可能不合适。同样“高赌注”考试——与中国的高考类似,决定大学的名额——给学生造成了焦虑,可能会因为一天内的不良表现而不公正地毁掉一个年轻人的未来。
Of course, the tests have to be age-appropriate, Professor Cizek notes, and the Race to the Top program includes funds for research to develop new exams. Filling in three pages of multiple-choice bubbles may not be appropriate for young children. Likewise “high stakes” tests — like the Chinese university entrance exam, which alone determines university placement — create anxiety and may unfairly derail a youngster’s future based on poor performance on a single day.
但从一个二流教师起家的西泽克教授说给给儿童提供无条件的表扬和支持的盛行理念或许不是成功的教育的最好药房。“对儿童来说最好的是经常性的测试,即使他们做的不好,他们也可以从中得到帮助、可以获得做的好的满足感,”他说,“孩子们并不能从总是夸奖他们不错的人身上得到自尊。”
But Professor Cizek, who started his career as a second-grade teacher, said the prevailing philosophy of offering young children unconditional praise and support was probably not the best prescription for successful education. “What’s best for kids is frequent testing, where even if they do badly, they can get help and improve and have the satisfaction of doing better,” he said. “Kids don’t get self-esteem by people just telling them they are wonderful.”
其他教育家则对更多的考试持反对态度。“奥巴马政府用钱的力量逼迫各个州增加更多的毁灭性的考试,”《反对标准化测试的案例》和其他很多关于教育的书的作者埃菲尔·科恩说,“随着力争上游,坏消息更糟糕了,学校被转变成了准备考试的过程。”
Other educators recoil at the thought of more tests. “The Obama administration is using the power of the purse to compel states to add more destructive testing,” said Alfie Kohn, author of “The Case Against Standardized Testing” and many other books on education. “With Race to the Top the bad news has gotten worse, with a relentless regimen that turns schools into test prep courses.”
他说儿童真心的学习是一个全球化的过程,而考试则看重狭窄和具体的技能,好的教师不需要通过考试来知道一个孩子是否在学习。他补充说对于儿童来说,好的考试结果只是因为儿童能坐得住或可以拿的了铅笔的功劳。“这些考试被冠之以责任的名义,而不顾那些说考试在学校毫无用处的儿童早期教育家的反对,”他如是说。
He said genuine learning in young children was a global process, while tests look at narrow and specific skills, and good teachers don’t need tests to know if a child is learning. He added that for young children, good test results were more a function of whether children can sit still or hold a pencil. “These tests are being added in the name of accountability despite the objections of early-childhood educators who say they have no place in the classrooms,” he said.
他说,“这些考试不是一种鉴定学习过程的低压力的工具,而是一个惩罚需要帮助的学生的大棒。”
Rather than a “low-stress tool to identify gaps in the learning process,” he added, “they are used as a club to punish students who need help.”
我不会假装让孩子挣扎在题海中是一个禅宗样的经历,无论是对于他们自己还是他们的父母而言。在北京,我的两个孩子都有他们做的不好的科目。有一整年的小学时期,我的儿子似乎在数学、英语和其他任何科目都取得很一般的成绩。这花费了我们做父母的很多的努力才让他保持自尊。我确定,他时不时就有对自己感觉比较糟糕的时候。
I will not pretend that raising children amid a stream of tests is a Zen experience, for them or for their parents. In Beijing, both of my children had subjects or grades in which they performed poorly. There was an entire elementary school year in which my son got consistently mediocre grades in math, in English, in everything, it seemed. It took endless parental cheerleading to maintain his self-esteem. And there were times when — yes — I’m sure he felt bad about himself
但,让我们面对它,生命中充满了各种各样的考试——有一些你第一而有一些你却不及格——因此,从某点说,你必须要适应它。“学校进行很多的培养和教育,当他们不得不仅仅坐在课桌前被测验的时候,对儿童来说是有点震惊。”
But let’s face it, life is filled with all kinds of tests — some you ace and some you flunk — so at some point you have to get used to it. “Schools do a lot of nurturing and facilitating, and then it’s a bit of a shock for children when they have to sit at a desk all alone and be tested,” Professor Cizek said.
当考试被放在一个平常的位置,老师们也很支持——像我们的孩子们的一样,在很大程度上——考试像那么的迷;不是一大堆决定你是什么的判决,而是一个有意思的挑战。这是北京国际学校的一项证明——或对于儿童期记忆的可塑性——安德鲁现在说他没有意识到自己被测试。考试可以像那个国家项目吗,像力争上游机会?
When testing is commonplace and the teachers are supportive — as my children’s were, for the most part — the tests felt like so many puzzles; not so much a judgment on your being, but an interesting challenge. It is a testament to the International School of Beijing — or to the malleability of childhood memory — that Andrew now says he did not realize that he was being tested. Will tests be like that in a national program, like Race to the Top?
当我们搬回到纽约市的时候,我的孩子9岁和11岁,他们进入一个先进的学校,没有真正的测试,没有分数,甚至在学校年度的音乐喜剧片中也不用亲自参加测试。他们没有坚持很长。事实证明他们更喜欢考试的反馈。
When we moved back to New York City, my children, then 9 and 11, started at a progressive school with no real tests, no grades, not even auditions for the annual school musical. They didn’t last long. It turned out they had come to like the feedback of testing.
“我怎么知道数学课上我理解的怎样?”一个月后,我的女儿十分不舒服的这样问道。首先有了在北京的考试经验,他们都很快的考试进了纽约市的公立学校——在哪里他们有很多的考试和一大部分的亚洲同学(或许并不奇怪)。
“How do I know if I get what’s going on in math class?” my daughter asked with obvious discomfort after a month. Primed with Beijing test-taking experience, they each soon tested into New York City’s academic public schools — where they have had tests aplenty and (probably not surprisingly) a high proportion of Asian classmates.
标签:考试 中国式
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2010-09-14 10:31 编辑:kuaileyingyu
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