Test: ACT Reading

Educators often speak of the “Depth of Knowledge” chart. This is a chart that breaks down all academic exercises into four categories that ascend in difficulty. The first category is “memorization.” The second is the basic processing of memorization, which consists of things like “comparing and contrasting.” Once students have been able to compare and contrast two things about which they’ve memorized facts, they will then be able to do things like “formulate hypotheses” based on the information they have. This is the third step. When students can use information to formulate hypotheses or make inferences, they can then move into the “analyze” or “design” phase, using the information to create new ideas, experiments, or stories. 

One part of the problem is that for many years now, educators have focused solely on the last two steps of this taxonomy because it is thought that this brings about higher level thinking abilities in students. I believe the job market has disproved this theory. The United States is losing its science and technology jobs to overseas markets, people that are more capable of these higher level cognitive skills in realistic areas such as math and science. We might be focusing on projects and statements that start with key words like “analyze” and “predict,” but we are still failing to produce students that can actually do those things in real analytical situations. 

The other part of this problem is the advent of immediate knowledge at our fingertips: the portable internet. Many educators feel that they can now skip the first two categories of academic exercises because the information is so readily available. Students don’t need to memorize or compare and contrast basic information because at any and all times, they can search anything online to access any and all information they don’t have memorized. We just need to teach them what to do with it. 

As new, better, and more accessible technologies become the norm, students are finding less and less motivation to undergo the basic exercises that a human brain must experience to truly expand, grow, and analyze. The problem with not teaching and not requiring students to achieve rote memorization is that when students do “create” and “synthesize,” all they are really doing is building upon emotion and sentiment. Without the basic principles of memorizing necessary facts and figures, a student cannot truly build anything of worth. A home cannot be built without a foundation, and no matter how flashy and beautiful the finished product would be, it would not function without the concrete foundation poured into the mud and clay of the earth. The nitty-gritty must take place before the art can be appreciated. 

Education must turn its eyes ground-ward if it ever wants to build something skyward that will last any sort of time. Requiring students to master basic functions even though they might be less interesting is necessary. Good teachers don’t skip those steps because they might be boring. Good teachers require those steps but find ways to motivate students to put in the effort and to make it fun.

1.

Why would the author include the description “mud-and-clay” when referring to the earth analogy in paragraph 4?

The author feels that education is necessary to help students succeed in construction and architectural positions.  

The author is making a comparison between the mud and clay that must be molded into a foundation and the important role of teachers in a child's early life.

The author is making the concession that the memorization and comparing and contrasting like ideas are less glamorous in education, but they are essential. 

The author feels that taking soil samples before building anything is vital to avoid a structural collapse later.

The author feels that memorization and comparison and constrast are outdated, "dirty" jobs.  They are not as essential as other exercises.

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