Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Teaching to the Test

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- (AP) -- The Florida Department of Education says students at 12 school districts, including Miami-Dade and Broward, showed signs of ``template writing'' on the state's standardized writing test.

The department sent the districts letters identifying schools where students responded with similar phrasing in their essays on the 2009 Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test. Examples include phrases like, ``I ran as fast as wildfire.''

The department says teaching to memorize and use such phrases distorts the writing process and makes the test more of a ``fill in the blanks'' type exercise.
Wait a second. Teachers, threatened with termination if they do not successfully get their students to pass a standardized test, are teaching standardized answers?

Oh, no one could have thought that could happen, could they? Color me surprised. Not.

Teaching 'to the test', anyone? Is this a foreign concept? Doh!

Don't get me wrong - given the situation, I don't think the teachers failed here, nor the students. The policy of punishing teachers and schools for failing to meet testing goals (while not necessarily giving them the tools and resources to meet them) is clearly at fault. If you make my job dependent on whether students got A's on their tests...well, you can be damned sure that is going to a primary curriculum task - and yet the PTB are surprised that it means students are simply regurgitating memorized phrases in a specific pattern?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Amen. When will we realize we are raising unique human beings rather than assembly line products?