I was recently presenting to the staff of a large secondary school. There were over 100 teachers in the room and we were discussing common assessments. As I was explaining the power of the practice, a teacher in the back of the room said the following, “Sounds like you want us to teach to the test.”
To which I replied,
“Yes, I want you to teach to the test. And here are the reasons why.
1. This school is accountable to student performance on the test. Until all students are performing at high levels on the test, the test remains a significant priority.
2. Teaching to the test is not a bad thing. The test sets the standard. I for one hope my attorney has been taught to the standards of the Bar Exam. I hope my Doctor has been taught to the standards of the AMA exam. I hope my accountant has been taught to the standards of the CPA exam. And since I am in the air an average of three times a week, I pray that my pilot has been taught to the standards required by the FAA.”
The test is the proof that we taught what we were hired to teach. Remember, we weren’t hired to decide what to teach. We were hired for our ability to teach. We get paid for the “how” of the instruction. The “how” is where we add value. If we lose sight of the importance of the “how,” then we can quickly become replaceable.
Think. Work. Achieve.