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Teaching Beyond the Test

Posted by on in Assessment
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In an era of high-stakes accountability and standardized testing, is there room for teaching beyond the test? You bet, say our guests, and here's how to do it without losing your job.




According to my guests, here’s what the research shows about teaching to the test:

  • Classes heavily focused on test prep are not necessarily associated with higher test scores.
  • Creative, in-depth teaching is more likely to generate increases in test scores.
  • Teachers don’t necessarily find that their creativity is affected by tests if they weren’t afraid of them – if they used tests for their own purposes rather than be run by them.


  • Project-Based Inquiry Units for Young Children: First Steps to Research for Grades Pre-K-2 by Colleen MacDonnell
  • Integrating Differentiated Instruction & Understanding by Design: Connecting Content and Kids by Carol A. Tomlinson
  • Teaching Beyond the Test: Differentiated Project-Based Learning in a Standards-Based Age, Grades 6 & Up by Phil Schlemmer and Dori Schlemmer
  • Classroom Testing and Assessment for ALL Students: Beyond Standardization by Spencer J. Salend 

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Rae Pica has been an education consultant specializing in the development and education of the whole child, children's physical activity, and active learning since 1980. A former adjunct instructor with the University of New Hampshire, she is the author of 19 books, including the text Experiences in Movement and Music and, most recently, What If Everybody Understood Child Development?: Straight Talk About Bettering Education and Children's Lives. Rae has shared her expertise with such groups as the Sesame Street Research Department, the Head Start Bureau, Centers for Disease Control, the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, Nickelodeon's Blue's Clues, Gymboree, Nike, and state health departments throughout the country. She is a member of the executive committee of the Academy of Education Arts and Sciences and is co-founder of BAM Radio Network, where she hosts Studentcentricity, interviewing experts in education, child development, play research, the neurosciences, and more on teaching with students at the center.

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Guest Thursday, 21 March 2019