Professor asked the same question to a male student.
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As at many schools…teachers and administrators …prepare students for the tests. They analyze tests from previous years, which are made public, looking for which topics are asked about again and again. They say, for example, that the history tests inevitably include several questions about industrialization and the causes of the two world wars.
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A different kind of narrowing also takes place in reading instruction. Reading proficiency includes the ability to interpret written words by placing them in the context of broader background knowledge. Because children come to school with such wide variation in their background knowledge, test developers attempt to avoid unfairness by developing standardized exams using short, highly simplified texts. Test questions call for literal meaning – identifying the main idea, picking out details, getting events in the right order—but without requiring inferential or critical reading abilities that are an essential part of proficient reading. It is relatively easy for teachers to prepare students for such tests by drilling them in the mechanics of reading, but this behavior does not necessarily make them good readers. Children prepared for tests that sample only small parts of the curriculum and that focus excessively on mechanics are likely to learn test-taking skills in place of mathematical reasoning and reading for comprehension. Scores on such tests will then be “inflated,” because they suggest better mathematical and reading ability than is in fact the case.