Updated: May 22, 2021
The birds are chirping...
The flowers are blooming...
Once upon a time, this time of year marked Spring Fever.
Now if you are a student, teacher, or parent, this time of year means it’s Testing Season.
Across the US, students take final exams and state mandated tests at the end of each school year. The results of these tests have far reaching consequences:
Teacher salaries and bonuses
State and federal funding of schools
What do all of these have in common?
Schools worry they won’t get the funding they need, so they try to motivate teachers by tying the test results of their students to their job security and salary.
Teachers worry about their financial well-being so they “teach to the test” so students will perform well on test day.
Parents worry that their kids won’t advance to the next grade or won’t graduate. They pass this anxiety to their kids by talking about the importance of doing well and what will happen if they don’t get a good score.
Students don’t want to disappoint their teachers or parents so they worry about whether they will pass the test.
I don’t think there is anything inherently wrong with testing as long as we keep it in perspective.
Education should be focused on learning, not creating successful test takers.
Educational achievement can’t be measured by a test score on one particular day.
There are many ways to assess mastery.
The results of any type of assessment should drive instruction.
Next week, I’ll address each of these ideas in more detail. Until then, go outside and enjoy the birds and flowers.