Goshen News, Goshen, IN


September 1, 2013

WHOLE FAMILY: Keep your minds and those No. 2 pencils sharp

Nothing quite like a newly-sharpened No. 2 pencil, is there? Some 30 years ago, on test day, we students would each get two brand-new pencils, school-bus-yellow pencils with fat, pink, unmarred erasers. I liked the pencils’ smell — woody, clean, schoolish. I liked their feel — light, solid, sharp. More so, I liked how they made me feel – hopeful, confident, smart.

It was test day, remember? So the pencils weren’t just new pencils. They were new No. 2 pencils for meticulously filling in bubbles on Scantron© answer sheets. You’d want your lead sharp — but not so sharp it snapped — so you could fill in those test answer bubbles neatly.

And if you did not fill them in neatly … Well, it was the first time in my life I learned about “the machine” judging my work. If you did not fill in the bubbles correctly, “the machine” would count your answers wrong. Three decades later, I heard the same spiel in a college course: Fill out the boxes — rectangles, this time — correctly or else. And I should note NO yellow No. 2 pencil made me feel hopeful, confident or smart enough to ace my college anatomy tests. Those days I wished I was back in sixth grade identifying parts of a sentence.

So ... TESTS! Do you like them? Hate them? Ace them? Always bomb them? How do you feel about your children taking them? Have you read some of the controversies about standardized achievement tests? Do you find tests useful?

And do you realize — we all take tests every single day? We do. Might as well consider them.

As a nursing student, my life revolves, in many ways, around achievement tests. Each lecture class has several tests, and for many classes, those tests are the only measures for my entire class grade. (When I’m a nursing instructor, we’re having more papers, I swear.) For clinical skills, we had to be tests — or “validated,” it’s called. Then, after graduating, all would-be nurses must take and pass the BIG TEST, called the NCLEX, for a license to practice nursing. So, much of what we do in school is prepping us for that one, big, eventual test.

An “achievement” test like the NCLEX assesses what you know, what you’ve learned. Achievement tests are the ones most common in academics. You learn something — likely by lecture or reading — then you take a test to see if you learned the content.

Or, at least, if you can regurgitate the content.

That’s one complaint some people have about using achievement tests to measure academic success. Ever taken a test, or know someone who has, then promptly forgotten nearly everything once you got your good grade? I’d like to tell you I’ve never done that. Alas, I have.

Other tests assess not so much achievement but just your “status” for any given issue. Think of an eye exam, the test where you read the letters on the wall. There’s no “achievement” to it; instead, it’s simply an assessment of how great or poor your eyes are. I like tests like that — ones for which there’s no right or wrong answers. For my eye tests and urinalysis drug tests, I often joke, “Now, those are tests I’m sure to ace.”

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  • THE PLAIN SIDE:Government reflects us

    Driver Ken said it game him goose bumps. I can see why. We are standing in Independence Hall in Philadelphia. This is the room where George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, the aged Benjamin Franklin, and all those other founding fathers stood. All at once.

    August 23, 2014

  • RELIGION BRIEFS: Aug. 23, 2014 Gordon Jensen, international evangelist, gospel singer and songwriter, will be at Northwood Chapel Aug. 24. He will sing and preach at the 11 a.m. worship service and again at the 6 p.m. evening service. Jensen has written songs such as “Redemption Draweth Nigh,” “He’s as Close as The Mention Of His Name” and “Written In Red.” The church is located at 28220 C.R. 52, Nappanee, one mile north of Nappanee on Ind. 19 and 1/4 mile west on C.R. 52. Those with questions may call 773-3509 or 773-7895.

    August 23, 2014

  • GLOBAL FAITHS: Syria tops list of Christian martyrdom in Pew study Last week’s Global Faiths column discussed the world’s most “church destroying” countries. It invites a look at those countries of the world where it’s hardest to be a Christian. The countries on these two lists are not the same, though the lists may overlap. “The top 10 nations ‘where Christians faced the most pressure and violence [in 2013] were North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Maldives, Pakistan, Iran and Yemen’” (www.Christianity today.com/gleanings). North Korea has the dubious distinction of remaining at the top of this list for 10 years now.

    August 23, 2014

  • PASTOR'S PEN: How was the soul of America's funny man? Goodbye Robin Williams. Are you kiddin’ me!? I grew up on Mork and Mindy! I had never laughed before at the things Robin Williams made me laugh about. That’s because there had never been one like him before. As the old Rod Stewart song goes, his “ad-lib lines were well rehearsed.”

    August 23, 2014

  • CLUB NEWS Goshen Noon Kiwanis Meeting date: Aug. 19 Awards/recognition: Ron Altenhof and Hugh Reinhold, greeters; John Huber, song leader; Ron Schultz, pledge; Bryan Mierau, invocation; Angela Black, guest. Perfect attendance award winners were Tim Doyle, 25 y

    August 22, 2014

  • NWS 0824 Bryant 99 BD photo Briefly GOSHEN 99th birthday open house today Ruby Evelyn (Deafenbaugh) Bryant of Goshen will celebrate her 99th birthday at an open house today at the Bryant homestead from 2:30 to 5 p.m. Family and friends are invited to attend. She was born in Claypool, A

    August 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • PUBLIC RECORD Marriage license The following marriage licenses were filed in Elkhart County: Trevor J. Milliken, 22, and Emily A. Wagoner, 22, both of 71074 Conrad Road, Niles, Mich. Zachary M. Cox, 25, and Mashala K. Short, 21, both of 487 Brookside Manor, Goshen

    August 22, 2014

  • Lifelong Learning fall courses announced GOSHEN — The Lifelong Learning Institute of Elkhart County is offering fall courses. These short courses are designed to provide stimulating and affordable classes in many fields for active seniors. There are no tests or grades, and no previous studies or degrees are required.

    August 22, 2014

  • 2014 Junior Lawn and Garden.jpg LaGrange County youth finish well at tractor contest LAGRANGE — With all of its four contestants delivering competitive performances, the LaGrange County 4-H Tractor program continued its tradition of achievement in the annual Purdue Area XI 4-H Tractor Contest July 26 at the LaGrange County 4-H Fairgrounds.

    August 21, 2014 2 Photos

  • CORRECTION: Outdoor worship, barbecue at Goshen Christian Reformed Church not happening It was incorrectly reported in Wednesday's edition — the Briefly column on A3 — that Goshen Christian Reformed Church was to have an outdoor worship service and barbecue Thursday through Saturday. The event was submitted by a church with the same nam

    August 21, 2014


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Three Goshen elementary schools — Chandler, Chamberlain and West Goshen — are providing free meals to all students during the school year as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Eligibility Provision of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Nearly 80 percent of students at Chandler, 89 percent of students at Chamberlain and 78 percent of students at West Goshen already qualify for free or reduced-price lunches based on their family income. How do you feel about the new lunch program?

I think it’s a good idea to feed all the students free of charge
I think those who can afford it should pay for their school meals
I think all students should be required to pay for their school meals
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