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Teaching to the Test? (2757 hits)

For many years there has been a debate to whether teachers are placing a lot of emphasis on test taking and teaching to the test. I don't know if you are aware of it but, many schools, particularly high schools students are not allowed to take there books home anymore. They are expected to take copious notes. However the skill of note taking and Penmanship has declined or has become non existent as part of a students daily exercise.

This being the case, why should we not be expecting teachers to teach to the test.
In fact there is no evidence that students aren't prepared properly and proficiently by using this method of instruction. Each objective area will still have to be learned and performed properly in order for a student to go on to the next level of proficiency.
What do you think?
Posted By: Dr. Okpara Nosakhere
Wednesday, July 20th 2011 at 4:28PM
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Good afternoon Mr. Nosakhere,

I agree with you. If we are going to keep the current requirement that children have to pass a test in order to be promoted, it only makes sense that teachers should be teaching the test. In our post -secondary school adult experiences, when we are planning to take a test for certification, licensing or admissions into a program we study specifically what we expect to be on the test. It seems only logical to give children the same opportunity.

However, I think the current method of “testing” out of a grade is a poor practice anyway. I feel that method is flawed for several reasons:

1. Not all children (or people for that matter) are good test takers. They may understand the subject and know the material but do poorly on tests.

2. I thought that grades on student’s report card were the indicator of how well a student knows the material and subject matter. Which leads me to these issues:
a. If we are making children test because we do not trust or believe that the teachers are assessing them correctly, then we either need the teachers to better trained at assessing if a child has mastered the material AND/OR we need to fire teachers who knowingly pass children who should be retained.
b. Why issue report cards if it means nothing when it comes to passing? It just seems like one more thing for children to worry about in addition to the test required to be promoted.


Sunday, July 31st 2011 at 5:34PM
Andrea Parker
As a school administrator, it has been several decades since a government study revealed the failure of the nation's education system and nothing has changed, except for the worse. A new revolution is needed to take our schools back from those who have been deliberately dumbing down our students.

We need real teachers in our classrooms, not facilitators. We need a renewed emphasis on the basics, not the judgement-neutral curriculum that is more concerned with self-esteem than teaching children anything.

Sunday, July 31st 2011 at 6:45PM
Siebra Muhammad
Hi Siebra,

I agree with you! I am reposting part of something I posted in response to another question why children are failing. I think it mgiht be applicable here as well.

I thought children went to school receive training from a professional educator- This is the area where I fault with the schools. I do believe it is the responsibility of the professional educator to give instruction in a method in which children are able to receive and retain the information. Not all children learn the same way. Some children learn through seeing, others through hearing, etc… I think those are important facts to consider. Professional educator teaching styles need to be adaptable to the learning styles of their students. People may argue that teachers should not have to change their methods to suit their students but I disagree.
This is where as a society we need to examine our goals for the teachers that are hired. Are teachers being hired with the goal of children simply “hearing” what is said or are we hiring teachers with the goal of children “ understanding , retaining and mastering “ subjects? If we are hiring teachers so that children understand, retain and master a subject then teachers must educate in an manner that facilitates this. Even in a public school setting, we as a society have to realize that we are in essence purchasing a service for the children of our nation. Think about it like this- if you purchase ANY OTHER service from a professional and you don’t get the results expected- you don’t blame someone else- you have the professional revise their service or you get someone else. You stop throwing good money after bad.
Now, this brings us to the subject of the school system. If the school system is not encouraging or allowing teachers to do their job in a manner that adapts to the students, then we need to review who is running the school system- the superintendent. If the superintendent of the school district is the “overseer” and he or she is not ensuring that students are receiving professional education in a way that supports our expectations as a society, then we need to figure out why he or she is in that position and why. It is my understanding that in many districts the school board votes on and selects who the superintendent is. Okay, so who votes for the school board??? THE AMERICAN PEOPLE DO! I bet the majority of people (outside of the education industry and profession) do not make a conscious decision about who they select as a member of the school board.
Therefore, if WE (THE AMERICAN PEOPLE) select the school board, the school board selects the superintendent of schools , the superintendent sets the tone for the school district and schools and the school district control the goals that teachers aspire to – then in reality.. If we are blaming schools we should also be blaming OURSELVES – the members of the community- for allowing these people to control the substandard education of our children. (Something to think about the next time we fill out a ballot.)

I think we as a black community have to become vested in ALL of our children doing well.
Sunday, July 31st 2011 at 7:14PM
Andrea Parker
Sunday, July 31st 2011 at 7:54PM
Siebra Muhammad
Here's a link on teachers who shouldn't be allowed around any children, especially African American.

Confession of a cheating teacher | Philadelphia Public School Notebook
Monday, August 1st 2011 at 7:08PM
Dr. Okpara Nosakhere
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