• Peter Lawrence

Day Seven - Third Debate and Research

Today, we honed in on research for the resolution: on balance, standardized testing is beneficial to K-12 education in the United States. After about thirty minutes of additional research in the morning, we started off with a third full-length debate. We followed this up with rebuttal redoes, where instructors gave specific comments and engaged with students one-on-one. Right before lunch, we ran a projection-based activity called "go the distance," where students deliver quotes and sayings from further and further distances outside, encouraging students to speak up and speak out.

During lunch today, as yesterday, many students opted to eat inside due to the heat. Others stayed outside and enjoyed the sun's warm rays.

When we came back from lunch, we discussed in further depth the purpose of education itself, and ended with this definition: to prepare youth to live sustainably, happily, justly, independently, socially, and purposefully. Each of these ways of living are attached to certain values we agreed were important. Sustainability is important for the preservation of the species, and future generations' well-being. Happiness is important for individuals to enjoy and find value in life. Justice is important to hold people accountable for their actions, and ensure others are able to live their lives alongside us. Independence is important to become self-sufficient, and eventually exercise freedom as a full adult. Social skills are important to make interactions between individuals positive and meaningful. Purpose is important because it means that our actions have intentions, and aren't just random.

With all of these values in our heads, we then discussed how standardized testing is meant to improve education to help all youth achieve these goals, but that unintentional effects of testing could in the short-term impact these values first; for instance, if a standardized test is biased, it might create unjust outcomes for individuals.

We also had an Institute-wide research check-in, where we listed out all of the pro and con arguments we had found thus far on the topic, shared strategies and tools for researching online, and discussed how to compile evidence into a speech.

Tomorrow, we will continue with research, as well as have two debates in one day - something students will quickly get used to once the tournament starts on Thursday!


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