Teach above the test, not to the test

Too often, teachers and administrators complain that they are overly constrained by what the state government expects and cannot deviate for fear of not covering the necessary material.  This statement is somewhat true, however through authentic learning experiences i.e. content-specific authentic texts, evaluating real world issues, community service projects, labs, students can build an understanding of the world that takes them past any standard the state has set for them.  In any perpetually high-achieving school regardless of any demographic data, they do not teach to the test, they teach above the test.  Students’ experiences and knowledge take care of the rest.

Kevin ‘Doc’ Dougherty via http://educationismylife.com/curiosity-does-not-equal-chaos

3 Responses to “Teach above the test, not to the test”

  1. Scott,

    I agree wholeheartedly. As an administrator I am not so concerned with the state test as I am with how our students do on the ACT or SAT. However, I don’t want staff teaching to the test. I want them teaching important skills in the classroom–reading and writing–but not because they are showing up on the test, but because they are important lifelong skills. Students can demonstrate these in any number of ways, whether it is on a test or through a project, etc. The important point is that we really need to focus on improving the skills of our students so they can continue to be learners after they leave us.

  2. I think there is a valuable place for testing. It is one (of many) tool to indicate student progress and to be sure that students are learning what they are supposed to be learning. But teaching to the test is ridiculous. I advocate for teaching children the *skills* needed to be successful. Then they should be able to demonstrate those skills in whatever manner is most appropriate.

    I do like the circular model of :
    the content/processes which should be taught => the content/ processes which are actually taught => the content/ processes which are assessed => again leading back to the beginning of what should be taught.

  3. Agree wholeheartedly, Scott
    Teaching to the test can never fully prepare students for anything long term. we need to teach them to THINK. Testing has its place but shouldn’t take over the curriculum at the expense of Thinking. I wrote about this further on my blog ( linked back to this post in it)

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