Thursday, February 15, 2007

teach to the test / teacher for the test

Do I want my performance tied to students' test scores? You bet I do.

If it encourages "teaching to the test," so be it. At last, I will have an objective, unbiased way to prove that I am a superior teacher. And trust me, I'll lord it over you.


Anonymous said...

I would have to say that theres been a strong correlation between teachers that "teach to the test" and teachers that have had little influence on my actual education. People often associate their favorite classes with a certain subject, "Oh, I love math/history/english/science," I find that my interesting classes: Language and Composition, European History, Principles of Technology, are categorized as interesting because of the teacher. When I learn something in those classes, its not retained by pure memorization, necessitated by "the test." I retain the concepts and information because its presented in ways that a "test teacher" just doesn't have time for.

I would love to see less tests, and more control by the actual teacher. Students don't want to listen to a talking text book, and more importantly I'm not convinced that they learn that way.

Jim Anderson said...

Thanks, anonymous, for saying what I would've if I weren't satirizing.

TeacherRefPoet said...

I'd also lord over the fact that I teach in a rock-solid socioeconomic area, where kids perform better on tests pretty well no matter what I do with them. And I can pretend I'm better than my colleague slogging it out with poorer kids--and struggling for less results.

Why would anyone teach in a tough school with such an arrangement?

a reader said...

teacherrefpoet: because (if I understand it correctly) the bill proposes to track *improvement.* There's much more room for improvement in underperforming schools.
I think that if the test is a good test, there's nothing wrong with "teaching to" it.
Take a look at some of those tests: the New York State Regents, for example. I think you will agree that a teacher who hasn't (somehow) taught what's on those tests hasn't done his or her job.

I also think that such a system might offer *more,* not less, flexibility: "If my students are improving," a teacher can say to the administration, "don't micromanage my classroom."