The State Test. It is a phenomenon that brings out a strong opinion in almost everyone. Should there be a test that measures student performance? What should be the measure? Is it fair? etc etc ad nausea um.
My opinion on testing is fairly simple and straight forward. Yes, there should be tests. It seems pretty obvious to this simple person that when you teach something you need to assess if the students have learned it. (though I am of the firm opinion that a test score is simply a snapshot of a student - not a portrait of progress)
And that brings me to my point. There is a debate here in Sunnyland that teachers are spending too much class time teaching to The Test. Hmm. Let me see if I can get this straight. The "great minds" that make-up the powers-that-be have decided at each grade level there are certain skills and knowledge that each student should learn and exhibit. Ok. Next, teachers are taxed with imparting said knowledge to their students. It is just such knowledge that the curriculum is designed to cover. Sure, makes sense so far... Next teachers design interactive and engaging lessons
even at the expense of any sleep to spread said knowledge far and wide. Still with me? They teach, practice, and test these skills. THEN students take state tests that cover the same skills. So, where is the problem?
This is precisely the point at which I always become lost. How can a teacher be accused of teaching to the test when the "great minds" said it is just such material teachers should be covering in the classrooms? Was the teacher supposed to wait until spring to start teaching these skills? What would they rather students learn in LA - weaving? Maybe LA teachers should teach football plays 101 for a few weeks each fall and to hell with the elements of literature or author's purpose. Maybe they should make tests that cover bizarre trivia. Because walking into a test completely unprepared is just exactly how we want children to prepare for the future.