Assessments for Academic Growth Purposes – Not Punitive Measures, or Teaching to the Tests

 

Just after Spring Break, our children will merge right into the testing season. STAAR testing will fill their lives for the next few days, and after that most will face Stanford 10. “Here a test, there a test, everywhere test – test.

 

What is STAAR testing really doing for our children? Granted, I realize that there certainly needs to be an accountability system in place, but are we using assessments the way that they should be used to help move children forward?

 

I wouldn’t mind the assessments so much if they were designed to determine our children’s strength’s, and areas that need attention/improvement. But what are teachers doing with the information that they have gathered?

 

Are teachers using assessment results revealed from test scores to:

 

  • Reteach/reinforce learning?
  • Learn if students are in need of differing teaching strategies that match their learning modalities?
  • Find out if students learned what they were supposed to learn at a particular curricular Benchmark?
  • Reveal if students mastered what they’d hope they would?
  • Determine if students are prepared to undertake next set of academic goals?
  • Determine is students are ready for the next layer in their curriculum?

 

We have new tests sure enough, but are these new tests leading to new academic opportunities for our children?

 

Assessments should not be used for “I gotcha moments,” or for punitive measures.

How can we reform how test results are being used? I hate the seemingly “teaching to the test” method that’s being used today.

 

When we don’t use test results to ultimately benefit the students, we begin to lose them academically, behaviorally, socially and we cannot afford to do this in this 21st Century.

 

As a parent, I find myself purchasing lots of materials that I believe may help strengthen my child. My hope is to ensure that she not only knows the material, but she feels equipped and ready on test days. Perhaps I’m more nervous than she is, but I care for her preparation and emotional state.

 

What are your thoughts on this topic?

 

 

 

 

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