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Measure THAT Learning: How State Testing Cuts Out Wonder Questions & Literacy Skills from My Classroom

Center for Teaching Quality

"I don't think I'll get through our entire curriculum before the test," CTQ's blogger and science teacher Bill Ferriter admits. In a state that bases teacher evaluation and student learning on a narrow fact-based assessment, Ferriter methodically chronicles the "wasted time" he spent in his classroom on the following untested skills: nonfiction literacy, the scientific process in a real lab, collaboration with technology, and researching student-generated "wonder questions."

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  • Center for Teaching Quality

    Bill, Thanks for taking the time to stop by and engage in in the discussion. Kris, thanks for reading and pursuing the conversation. Have you stopped by our Collaboratory? We would love to have you join the conversation there too with Bill and other teachers who are interested in education and ed policy. http://www.teachingquality.org

    Right now there seems to be a more focused discussion on the role of the Common Core, Race to the Top, and continued implementation of standardized testing as the primary way of evaluating teaching and learning. We hope to continue to lift teacher voice into this process as well as engage parents and communities in these important discussions.

  • Kris Giere

    I just needed to say that I completely agree. Standardized testing kills creativity and wonder. Testing of this sort reinforces, both overtly and covertly, that there is only one right answer. Innovation and creative pursuits come from the freedom and the encouragement to pursue alternative answers, to attempt and fail and attempt again, and to focus on inspirations, not canned curricula.

    Thank you for lifting your voice on this very important issue.

  • wferriter

    Just wanted to thank all y'all for pointing your readers to this post.

    The only way that we can push back against the test first, test always approach to school reform that is strangling innovation in the classroom is by convincing parents that their kids are losing out on more meaningful instruction as teachers respond to high-stakes evaluation policies.

    I don't think the average parent recognizes JUST how bad the tests that we use to hold teachers accountable really are or JUST how much instruction is changing in classrooms in response to those tests.

    And as ashamed as I am of the fact that I'm going to change my teaching to something I'm not proud of in order to produce results on standardized tests, the real shame rests with the legislators that force teachers to walk moral tightropes in the name of doing right by their kids.

    Rock on,
    Bill Ferriter
    The Tempered Radical