Teaching to the test isn’t so bad, writes a young teacher at a Boston charter middle school in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Rote teaching, after all, will not automatically help students do well on standardized tests any more than science labs and Shakespeare discussions will cause them to do poorly. Creative and inspiring teaching leads to strong test performance when done well, while schools whose students cannot identify the main idea of a passage or do fundamental math are not really providing an adequate education, no matter how flashy or engrossing their teachers’ lessons might be.
Sometimes, teachers are working hard and not being effective, Matt Matera writes. Test scores reveal whether students are making progress.
When I teach to the test, I’m simply teaching my students how to be strong readers or writers — exactly what I would have been teaching them anyway. If I’m doing an inadequate job and they score poorly, the solution is not for my administration to berate or fire me, or to cut arts funding or force me to teach nothing but rote curriculum. These and other misguided attempts at improving schools have to do with how people address the skill gaps exposed by test data, not with the data itself