Blog Post: A Reader Asks… Fear / Superstition Driven Benchmarking A LYS Principal asks: SC, What do you tell teachers when they start asking about doing full-length release TAKS assessments or some other version of an extended exam? They are concerned that we do not prepare students for the length of the test by doing shorter exams. How would you respond? Thanks. SC Response I would respond in the following manner. Our students’ best chance for success requires: 1. That we teach the scope and sequence at the appropriate pace and at the appropriate rigor. 2. That we make continuous and incremental adjustments based on timely, short-term data. 3. That we maximize instructional time. A release TAKS benchmark style assessment conducted in the Fall semester does not help us does not help us accomplish 1, 2 or 3. In fact, it is a distraction to all three. Carving out significant time to conduct a long benchmark, makes it difficult for teachers to maintain the pace required by the scope and sequence. The collected data is completely predictable, at-risk students will not have mastered content that they have not been taught. Testing is not instruction, so we are sacrificing instructional time for the purpose of what? Superstition and tradition? In this case we will just say “No more.” As for the argument that students need to be exposed to a longer test, we are a secondary school, if they are not used to longer tests by now, one more isn’t going to solve the problem. If we are going to be successful as a campus, we are going have to let go of what doesn’t add value and embrace what does. This is one of those letting go times. Think. Work. Achieve. Your turn… Call Jo at (832) 477-LEAD to order your campus set of “The Fundamental 5: The Formula for Quality Instruction.” Individual copies available on! Attend the LYS presentations at the Texas School Improvement Conference on 10/27/11

  • Improve Now – 8:00am
  • The Fundamental 5 – 9:45am
  • You Can’t Fix What You Can’t See – 10:15am

Follow Sean Cain and LYS on Confirmed 2012 Presentations: NASSP Conference; NASB Conference