Teaching Beyond the Test

By Rae Pica

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

· : 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

Other Resources

· “Highly rated instructors go beyond teaching to the standardized test: Some Southern California teachers are finding ways to keep creativity in the lesson plan even as they prepare their students for standardized tests”: http://articles.latimes.com/2011/jul/11/local/la-me-test-prep-20110711

· An example of teachers banding together: Testing Is Not Teaching: http://www.facebook.com/testingisnotteaching

· Opt Out of Standardized Tests – The International Movement: http://optoutofstandardizedtests.wikispaces.com/

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September 8, 2011