January 25, 2012

Why do educators out-think the test?

It's no secret that I detest the test. High stakes testing undermines teaching and learning in every way. In fact, I believe teachers should be speaking out against standardized tests and do everything possible to eliminate them.

While the test is here, though, we should handle it properly. We need to stop out-thinking it.

It seems that each year in my school district, a new test-preparation system or computer program comes along to help our students improve their scores. Ironically, the scores continue to decline. Why is it so hard for decision-makers to realize that we have to stop teaching to the test.

While my colleagues bore students into submission with practice test material and computerized reading programs, my students read. They read all year. They read books of their choosing, write about their stories and share their reading with peers.

And, in the end, they outperform their peers in traditional classes.

So, why do we continue to out-think the test?