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Teaching to the Test. Are standardized tests a help or a hindrance?. By Mary Lamping.

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teaching to the test

Teaching to the Test

Are standardized tests a help or a hindrance?


Mary Lamping

'It is our dream that students will ...experience their classrooms as invigorating, even inspiring environments - places they look forward to going to and places they hate to leave. It is our dream that they will come to know themselves as masters of various crafts...It is our dreams that ...they will come to love the process of learning itself... by making it their own.' Paideia Schools
The previous quote is exactly how I feel about literacy and learning. I want to teach students. I want them to learn, to have the knowledge to research and figure out anything they choose. I don’t want to teach them how to test, that is so limiting. I want to seethe light in their eyes when they “get” something. A child's mind is so full of possibilities, lets not waste it on testing.
I am not against all testing. As a teacher I want to see if my students are progressing. I would like to see a balance. There seems to be too many standards. Who’s standards are they? This presentation is just a small sampling of research out there suggesting a closer look at standardized testing and whether or not its effective. Thanks for watching.
what is standardized testing
What is Standardized Testing?

What does it actually mean for a test to be standardized? Cronbach (1960) argued that standardized

tests were those in which the conditions and content were equal for all examinees.

how do i fit in

How do I fit in?

One of our students once remarked, "I would do so much better on this test if it were my size." He was referring neither to the number of questions nor the font size; his meaning referred to the poor match between his ways of knowing and those valued on the exam. We suspect that many students of color feel this same sentiment.

Quintero, Kelly; Cooks, Jamal

state facts
State Facts

Because there is no way to predict precisely which facts will be sought on the state tests, teachers feel pressured to turn courses into a "memory Olympics"; we simply cannot afford to spend the time probing beneath the headlines of history.

my project

My Project

I sent out a survey among teachers where I work to get their thoughts on standardized testing. I interviewed these teachers after I looked over the surveys . I hope to

show their thoughts and how what they do affects literacy and if what they do is better than the test.

  • What is your opinion of standards?
  • I think standards are necessary as a guide for teachers to direct their teaching. However, they are not always “monitored” in a fair way.
  • In what ways do standards help teachers with content?
  • Standards help teachers direct their content so that the concepts that the educator is teaching are developmentally appropriate and fluid with the curriculum throughout the previous and subsequent years.
  • How can teachers use the standards for measurement of student achievement?
  • The standards are the concepts that should be achieved/mastered during that grade or school year. The teacher can measure if the students are meeting those standards or are ahead or behind them.
is standardized testing a positive for literacy
Is Standardized Testing a Positivefor Literacy?

Statewide standardized tests force students to sacrifice learning about the

cultural complexities that define our society.

If we give our students the tools with which to learn, they can go anywhere and

Learn about anything. If we make them memorize useless facts that

they will never need we take away true learning.

'It doesn't happen all at once. You become. It takes a long time'. Margery Williams

This quote is the essence of literacy and learning. We learn

over our entire lifetime, we don’t want to teach our students

to learn for the short term…….for the “test”. Our students

deserve and education for a lifetime, not a short term fix

to look good. Lets do real teaching to create real learning.

Life long learning.


Good, Thomas L (01/01/2008). "46. Standardized Tests" in 21st century education : a reference handbook

(1-4129-5011-2, 978-1-4129-5011-4), (p. 423).

Quintero, K., & Cooks, J. (2002). Teaching to the test when one size doesnt fit all. Voices from the Middle, 10(1), 60-61

. http://search.proquest.com/docview/213932538?accountid=2909

Gee, James. "Literacy, Discourse, and Linguistics."Literacy, A Critical Sourcebook. Ed. Cushman, Ed. Kintgen,

Ed. Kroll and Ed. Rose. Boston: Bedford/St Martins, 2001. 525-544. Print.

(Gee 525-544)

Peck, Wayne, Linda Flower, and Lorraine Higgins. "Community Literacy." Literacy, A Critical Sourcebook. Ed. Cushman,

Ed. Kintgen, Ed. Kroll and Ed. Rose. 1st ed. Boston: Bedford/St Martins, 

(Peck, Flower, and Higgins 572-588)

Bartholomae, David. "Inventing the University." Literacy, A Critical Sourcebook. Ed. Cushman, Ed. Kintgen, Ed. Kroll and Ed. Rose.

1st ed. Boston: Bedford/St Martins, 2001. 511-524. Print.

(Bartholomae 511-524)

Delpit, Lisa. "The Politics of Teaching Literate Discourse."Literacy, A Critical Sourcebook. Ed. Cushman, Ed. Kintgen, Ed. Kroll and Ed. Rose. 1

sted. Boston: Bedford/St Martins, 2001. 545-554. Print.

references cont
References cont.

Bigelow, B. (1999). Why standardized tests threaten multiculturalism. Educational Leadership, 56(7), 37-40. http://search.proquest.com/docview/224855812?accountid=2909

Teachers Place Little Value on Standardized Testing: Survey finds other assessments deemed more important Rebora, Anthony. "Teachers Place Little Value on Standardized Testing." Education Week 31.26 (2012): 14. ProQuest Research