Friday, July 16, 2010



1. Background of the problem
For many students, one of the most frustrating components of the high school evaluation process is standardized testing. Even when test scores seem commensurate with high school courses, grades, and expectations, completing the tests (yes, there are often multiple tests to consider) is an onerous task. By the end of senior fall, let alone junior spring, students are often exhausted and exasperated by the examination hoops they have had to jump through. For those whose test scores aren't consistent with courses, grades, and expectations, the frustration is even more overpowering.
Guacimo is one of the main cities in Limon. It counts with a lot projects to be heaved in tech and business. In the most recent decade, Guacimo has improved in social services hence the community requires those. Its population is a melted pot mixture; there are people from different –ethnic origins. Alike the former announcement, the different economic status characterize this community. Therefore, in the time being, there are people from high class, middle class and low class. The extreme status has represented problems because there are people from high class who became rich by dealing drugs and people from low class who became drug doers. Drug doers have increased delinquency in the last years because they have had to resort to theft, shoplifting in order to get hold of money for drugs.

Nowadays, people have died as victims, investment has not increase, and the opportunities for jobs rely on some stores, pineapple and banana plantations. As it has been shown in former announcements Guacimo has tried to increase and improve, however, some social issues has not contributed because they have not been eradicated.

Among the services Guacimo has, education represents one opportunity for some families’ expectations. There is one primary school and two high schools. One of these high schools gives the opportunity to those who can not study in regular schedule because they need to work to gain money for their families. The Night Program High School provides students with the option to study and be ahead in future. In contrast, El Colegio Tecnico Profesional de Guacimo holds the same goal but in regular schedule. It tries to implement the technical programs to prepare students in a specific field. In this way, the high school gives the student the chance to be incorporated in the field he or she graduated as well as the aspiration to study at the university. This high school has had great results in most of its goals and subjects. Moreover, English has been one challenge to overcome. In the last years, El Colegio Tecnico Profesional de Guácimo has had one of the lowest scores in the Standard MEP tests (pruebas nacionales). This fact has become into one of the major goals in this high school. The principal has inquired teachers to provide an answer about it. Now the objective relies on identifying the facts which have become into a hindrance for ninth population to pass these tests. The former data is supported by the imformation presented in the meeting hosted by the Guápiles Region -English Advisor MSc. Conrad James Rose in 2006. This information was about the percentages and averages obtained by each school in the year 2005. The results alarm teachers because they show most students flunk these exams, of course keeping exceptions. The different numbers state a high quantity of students who flunked the tests in 2005. According to the information presented by the advisor Guacimo took 82 students to the Standard test in 2005 and just 18 students passed it and 64 flunked it. At the same time, the results obtained in the diagnostic tests, applied to ninth population to asses the mastery on seventh and eighth targets in 2006 and 2007, came up with negative results. In 2006, 85 students applied the diagnostic tests and 21 passed it. In 2007, 86 students applied the test and just 24 students passed it. These results show a clear problem and challenge that needs to be solved. In doing that, professors would have results and answers to start working in those weak bases. The idea goes to find the answer to the problem for professors to know what to do and overcome the problem.

2. Justification
Costa Rican education has shown enormous weaknesses. out of solutions people have focused on negative critics toward the different aspect why students deal with low scores at school. These critics have not obtained positive results. They have not been the driving to motivate other teachers. In contrast, teachers have mot been interested. The former happened not only to old teachers but also for those who have recently entered in the organization. In the time being many teachers have identified downbeat causes to improve and increase the educational development. However, professors are not compelled with the demand of finding solutions. In fact, professors tend to follow the crew and do what the rest do. In doing this, the predicament increases and the low scores in the standard national tests would be the same or worst. As it’s shown in the study of the theory(Gomez and Hanushek, 1992) they state that professors get rid of responsibility once they concur in a meager system. The latter refers to those teachers who always complain because of the conditions they might face. The predicament augments because professors consider they must not do anything to solve the problem or problems. They forget the commitment they acquired.

Based on the former pronouncements, there is clear need to figure out the issues El Colegio Tecnico Profesional de Guacimo has regarding the low proficiency ninth grade students cope with. The answer will not be find by criticizing or stating negative comments toward results. In distinction, the objective might be sketched carefully. If the objective were sketched, professors would be able to figure out the problems and start working on the weaknesses and improve to avoid future –bad results.

Identifying the problem will contribute not only to know the problems but to prepare alternatives to solve them. In this way, professors will be given with the instruments to face the problem or al least they will find the strategies to decipher the needs. Consequently, through out all data collected the opportunity to a deep analysis could be done to perk up the low proficiency students get in standardized tests. Therefore, the objective is to put off future generations from the same risk.

3. Problem resolution under research
What are the factors lapsing into the low English proficiency obtained by ninth graders Ss from El Colegio Tecnico Profesional de Guacimo in the standardized national tests? The low English proficiency obtained in the standardized national tests by ninth graders students has become a life-size problem in the Costa Rican Public Educational System. As a result, there is no reason to be surprised that this issue lies on the Colegio Tecnico Professional de Guacimo. However, the scores obtained by the students in the standardized tests seem to be the lowest in comparison with the rest. These results rate 78% of students who flunked the tests. The former announcement shows that the teaching and learning process has not been developed at the best.
4. Objectives
4.1 Terminal objective

• Identifying the different factors which ground ninth grader students to obtain low scores in the standardized tests applied in the CTPA Guacimo.
4.2 Enabling Objectives
• Name the different issues which cooperate to obtain low scores in the standardized tests applied in the CTPA Guacimo.
• Provide possible recommendations to teachers who cope with this problem in order to lessen the problem.

5. Theoretical Framework
5.1 teacher’s duty

The teacher in the classroom must develop the objectives and cognitive targets as good as he is demanded. However, there are many aspects which affect the process and teachers do not respond to the task. According to Simmons,J. (1978,p.123) “ one of the key features why students do not achieve curriculum goals depends on teachers’ methodology”. Professors must select the methods and strategies they will use carefully. If teachers use useless methods to teach, the results will be negative. It’s teachers’ responsibility to avoid those methods and technique which will not thrive in the process to accomplish any specific goal. Simmons (1978) states “methods are to facilitate student’s learning instead teacher’s teaching” (p.125). There are many teachers who are languid. Teachers who are in classrooms loafing time. These teachers select methods for their own benefit. They pass out some long texts to be translated by students while they do nothing. In short, teachers are demanded to select a method that comes up with the achievement of the cognitive targets.

Simmons (1978) points out another factor that can lead to low test scores “…is inexperienced and not well trained teachers. No real knowledge of the particulars of level education, let alone subjects for different graders, is required to get English teacher certification.” (p.162) there are many unprepared teachers who work in charge of levelled groups and they do not know what to do or how to find the appropriate strategies to teach. Some amateur teachers do not cope with subject mastery to clarify doubts at ease. If teachers are not trained they are teaching the first thing they consider is right, the low scores will be part on the Public Educational System Even the teachers who get English-as-a-second language endorsements tend to have their training focused on helping students to pass the standardized tests. In addition, public schools tend to have higher rates of teacher turnover, which leads them to recruit inexperienced teachers just out of their university teacher training.

“How a second language was taught in primary school might reflect the student’s learning in post- education of the matching language. Permeability, a linguistic term, responds to the ability children covenant in learning languages when they are young” (Heyneman,1990.p. 72)

Prior knowledge will facilitate content understandings. Some students deal with good mastery on topics because they have been in exposure to those contents before. There are many students who arrive to high schools with good comprehension toward certain topics that is because they received good English lessons at primary school. The former holds the importance of having a good preparation in primary school as well as in the former levels before ninth grader. If the latter were done, the results would be different.

“scrutiny must be part of every teacher in his doing. The trying of teaching a subject matter by itself wouldn’t be the intent of a teacher. Applying straightforward but aimed instruments of observation a teacher will undoubtedly identify problems for student’s low scoring when they are losing interest on subjects” (Costa, 1977, p. 39)
An exceedingly factor a teacher must consider to evaluate regards to observation. Sometimes students get low scores because of the teachers’ methodology and strategy selection or because their prior knowledge is not as good as it should be. However, there are cases where students’ proficiency acts in response to some problems they have. These problems could be hyperactivity, loss of concentration, type of intelligence, social problems, family problems, etc. At times, teachers think students are equal or they do not have problems as we do or even worse. Based on the latter, teachers are required to carry out the respective instruments to collect valuable information. This information must facilitate the methodology selection as well as all the adaptations the teacher must do in order to get a better comprehension of the contents. In doing this, the students’ mastery will definitely increase and improve. Moreover, the increase of lethargic English teachers, who do not know about this duty or they probably know but they do not do it, has cooperated to get much more of the same students live in the classroom.
How class plans are edited will bring into being satisfactory environments for the development of lessons. For latter reasons mentioned, teachers must be chary when first-rating techniques to teach because depending on individuals’ lessons will be that attractive. It means an attractive lesson encourages students to learn while one so as to is not would do the differing (Farrel and Schiefelbein, 1974,p.422)

Toting up, once the teacher has observed how students learn and what are the possible negative aspects that could interrupt the teaching and learning process. The teacher should get a good enhancement in his plans. The former obliges the teacher to start working from cognitive target to evaluation. The teacher must lake sure the activities he selects respond to the method he is going to applied and he must also ensure students respond to those strategies. The teacher guarantees a successful class if he works on how to make it attractive. Students are everyday much more unmotivated and less-encouraged to learn because they are tired of the same. In order to avoid the previous problems, teachers must implement their creativity and innovative thoughts on papers.

5.2 The student

Through observation many factors can be determined to answer why students cannot learn or cope with certain topics. Social, personal, family or peer issues can come up with terrible consequences in the scores students have. Guácimo is one city that faces many social problems. Those problems can affect students’ motivation.
“Poverty is a well-determined motive which has an effect on more than a few learners’ behavior and school performance. The economical barriers found by learners can playdown their behavior. Scholars can undergo they are inferior because of their economical site. Factors akin to this might get learners secluded and low in self-esteem. In addition, wealthier students can dig up other students down by screening off or any other wrench behavior” (Gomez, 1992, p. 336)

In poor cities, students might get by difficult circumstances. There is a law that states public education is free, conversely, there are some families that cannot get currency enough to support their kids at school. There are fritters such as lunch, transportation fees, academic items, etc that requires money. Sometimes, parents cannot earn money enough to keep their son or daughter at school. On the other hand, the families can have more than one kid at school. Consequently, they cannot keep kids at school. There are some scholarship programs but in third world countries they do not wrap all student community.
This final reason given across the nation for low test scores that is because of poverty. Across Costa Rica, parents who are not well-educated and have low incomes tend to have children who don't do well in school.
“Some students in poor towns come to school already knowing how to read because they were read bedtime stories from a very early age. In contrast, many parents of European and Asian ancestry come from "literacy cultures," which have for centuries emphasized the importance of schooling. These parents tend to buy books for their children, take them to their community's library on a regular basis, and in many other ways communicate to their children the importance of reading, writing, and schooling. These parents give their children the personal attention that teachers in large schools can't. In middle and high schools, teachers often see over a hundred different students every day, and the students gain the perception that teachers just "don't care" about them because teachers just don't have the time to give any one of their students much personal attention.” (Gomez, 1992, pp. 339,340)
As it was mentioned, poverty defines a culture that also influences education. Parents can blame the schools for low test scores, teachers can blame the tests and parents, school administrators can blame teachers, and so it can go. In fact, everyone can blame everyone, whether be parents, teachers, or university professors who teach the teachers. Some of the reasons given by experts for the low test scores include that the tests are culturally biased, what the schools are teaching is irrelevant to the lives of students, the teachers are not properly trained, the schools are under-funded, the schools and communities emphasize athletics over academics, and the students come from low-income homes without reading material.

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