February 20, 2006

“Teaching To The Test” Is “Teaching To The Standards”

At last! Someone writing about the current testing regime prevalent in American schools who realizes that the evil notion of “teaching to the test” is, in reality, teaching to the standards set by the state.

Those who complain are not really talking about teaching to the state test. Unless teachers sneak into the counseling office and steal a copy, which can get them fired, they don't know what's on the test. They are teaching not to the test but to the state standards -- a long list of things students are supposed to learn in each subject area, as approved by the state school board.

Hardly anybody complains about teaching to a standard. Teacher-turned-author Susan Ohanian is trying to change this, and she refers to all advocates of learning standards as "Standardistos." But she has not made much headway, mostly because standards make sense to parents like me. We are not usually included in discussions of testing policy, but we tend to vote in large numbers, and everybody knows that any governor or president who came out against standards for schools and learning would soon be looking for work in the private sector.

Those who object to such standards (including the wrong-headed Ohanian) are really objecting to good education. After all, look the standards for my 10th Grade World History classes. Do you really find anything objectionable there? Anything that should not, reasonably speaking, be a part of a World History class? If anything, these TEKS (Texas Essential knowledge and Skills) provide a pretty good overview of the subject. When looked at in the context of the overall standards for grades 1-12, you find that they provide a great scope and sequence for learning. The TAKS test (Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills) tests to those standards – so if my colleagues and I teach to those standards, our students should pass the Exit Level test in 11th grade. That is not to say that I don’t have issues with the TAKS, but the fact that it is standards driven is not one of them.

|| Greg, 05:02 PM || Permalink || Comments (3) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Trackback Information for “Teaching To The Test” Is “Teaching To The Standards”

TrackBack URL for this entry:
Listed below are links to weblogs that reference '“Teaching To The Test” Is “Teaching To The Standards”'.

Comments on “Teaching To The Test” Is “Teaching To The Standards”

While I agree that teaching to standards is essential, I still think that teaching to a test results. Every test has its own style. When we teach to that specific style, we are teaching to the test. Take Washington state for example. Our WASL is a standards based test. I know for certain that students who understand concepts in class have struggled with the way in which the WASL questions are asked. So, while I agree that standards are essential, teaching to a test still exists. And when teachers have to spend valuable class time focusing on preparing students how to take the test, I believe we are doing them an injustice.

|| Posted by Mr. McNamar, February 22, 2006 09:15 AM ||

Here's what I would do:

Instead of creating a test around those standards, I would just make each student go through the entire standards document and explain the answers to all the standards.

So, for example, when they get to "(A)identify the major eras in world history and describe their defining characteristics;" they would have their own open-ended answer prepared.

Of course, when an educational system is based on a set 'basket' of facts, like that, you need to have standards like "(A)identify elements in a contemporary situation that parallel a historical situation;" where the student takes two elements of his/her choosing and analyzes them, either on paper, or, as they sometimes do in Europe, orally.

So, I guess my main problem with the tests is that they aren't explicitly testing the standards enough.

Plus, I think that multiple-choice is not rigorous enough.

But my solution is very people-dependent and would require a lot of time. I'd suggest extending the school year for this type of assessment.

Any thoughts?

|| Posted by Jessie, February 22, 2006 10:57 AM ||

When most teachers speak about teaching to a test, they are not spouting eduspeak, but speaking about the common practice of disrupting the usual curriculum to teach the specific tricks necessary to pass a mandatory, high stakes test. We can try to sugarcoat it, or eduspeak it to death by calling it "teaching to the standards," but the actual practice remains the same.

And while the state educrats can doubtless recite various standards and claim that they all apply to a given high stakes test, it is often mere coincidence that what real teachers have to do to help their students pass coincides with those standards. This is particularly true in English. The mere act of reading and writing virtually anything involves the majority of English standards on a daily basis in virtually any state.

No, I'm sorry. "Teaching to the standards" does not change a sad and ugly reality, nor does it infuse high stakes testing with validity or value.

|| Posted by Mike, February 23, 2006 11:42 PM ||
Post a comment

Remember personal info?




Winner - 2014 Fabulous 50 Blog Awards
Winner - 2014 Fabulous 50 Blog Awards

Winner - 2013 Fabulous 50 Blog Awards

Winner - 2012 Fabulous 50 Blog Awards

Winner - 2011 Fabulous 50 Blog Awards

Winner - 2010 Fabulous 50 Blog Awards

Winner - 2009 Fabulous 50 Blog Awards

Posts by Category

Announcements (posts: 13)
Blogging (posts: 187)
Border Issues & Immigration (posts: 421)
deferred (posts: 4)
Education (posts: 685)
Entertainment & Sports (posts: 483)
Guns & Gun Control (posts: 65)
History (posts: 329)
Humor (posts: 88)
Israel/Middle East (posts: 44)
Medical News (posts: 54)
Military (posts: 273)
News (posts: 1570)
Paid Advertising (posts: 234)
Personal (posts: 108)
Politics (posts: 5261)
Race & Racism (posts: 281)
Religion (posts: 819)
Terrorism (posts: 884)
Texas GOP Platform Reform Project (posts: 4)
The Courts (posts: 310)
Watcher's Council (posts: 482)
World Affairs (posts: 345)


January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004
August 2004
July 2004
June 2004
December 0000



Creative Commons License
This weblog is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Powered By

Powered by
Movable Type 2.64

Administrative Stuff

Email Me
Syndicate this site (XML)

Advertising Disclosure


About Me

NAME: Greg
AGE: 50-ish
SEX: Male
OCCUPATION: Social Studies Teacher
LOCATION: Seabrook, TX
DISCLAIMER: All posts reflect my views alone, and not the view of my wife, my dogs, my employer, or anyone else. All comments reflect the view of the commenter, and permitting a comment to remain on this site in no way indicates my support for the ideas expressed in the comment.

Search This Site

Support This Site

Recent Entries

Who Is Regan Theiler And Why Was She Allowed To Spend Public Funds On A Sole Source Contract For Her Part-Time Employer?
Not My Idea Of A Stimulating Evening
About Trump's Liberty University Speech
Do Not Place The Secessionist "Texas Independence" Measure On The 2016 Republican Primary Ballot
Conservatives Vs. Liberal On Those Engaged In Violent Political Activity
Tom Mechler Makes His Case Against Moving The 2016 RPT Convention
Jared Woodfill Makes His Case For Moving The 2016 RPT Convention
Questions About Moving The 2016 RPT Convention
Reject The Call To Move 2016 Republican Party Of Texas Convention
It Is Too Bad That Political Parties Cannot Reject Voters Who Seek To Join, Stop Would-Be Candidates Who Want To Run


Watchers Council
  • Ask Marion
  • Bookworm Room
  • The Colossus of Rhodey
  • The Glittering Eye
  • GrEaT sAtAn"S gIrLfRiEnD
  • The Independent Sentinel
  • JoshuaPundit
  • Liberty's Spirit
  • New Zeal
  • Nice Deb
  • The Noisy Room
  • The Razor
  • Rhymes With Right
  • The Right Planet
  • Simply Jews
  • Virginia Right!
  • Watcher Of Weasels

  • Political & Religious Blogs