Thursday, November 1, 2007

teaching to the test

I'm so glad that I teach at a private school which is not constrained by mandatory state tests.

Recently posted on 2 Cents Worth:
"Then I run across a comment that I was mostly impressed with. But the author, a network filter administrator, said,
'When I go through the process of adding a new Universal Resource Locator (URL) to the filter database I actually personally evaluate the site to see which of the state standards can be illustrated or in any way taught by the content of the site. If I find that none can it is immediately blocked. '
Interpreted literally, this reminds me of a comment made by a keynote speaker I recently saw at a state school boards association conference. It was a great keynote, funny, and thought provoking — in a good way. But the speaker said something that I, personally, do not agree with.
'If your second grade teacher teaches a fantastic unit on dinosaurs, but dinosaurs are not on the test, then that teacher is doing harm to your children. Anything that’s taught that’s not on the test, is doing harm to your children.'
Are the standards of instruction intended to be the extent of the instruction? The answer to that question may well be, “Yes.” But should the state define the limit of instruction? I don’t think so. Safety, I would suggest, should be the only limit to learning in our schools."

The students at my school do take standardized tests and we compare then on local and national levels to other types of schools, but our primary goal as educators is to educate, not take a test.

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