Sunday, March 13, 2005

Teaching to the test

One out of every four Texas fifth graders failed the reading test last month. According to the state's accountability system, they cannot be promoted to the sixth grade unless they pass. The kids who failed get two more cracks at it.

But they also have to pass a math test next month, for which they are similarly given three tries. My question is this: for those 25% who fail, is there anything else going on academically? If promotion to sixth grade is hanging in the balance, my guess would be that teachers would severely curtail their time in science, social studies, PE, art, or anything else that isn't directly related to passing the test.

The most common -- some would say tired -- argument against high stakes testing is the phenomenon of "teaching to the test." Under the circumstances described in that article, it's hard to imagine a teacher doing anything else.


Blogger Jenny D. said...

Is this the TAAS?

I believe the TAAS is not static from year to year. The test itself becomes more difficult each year. Therefore, what was passing for third grade three years ago is no longer acceptable now. Because the standards are higher. Is that what you're saying? That it's bad that the standards are higher?

11:17 AM  

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