Every year, I talk to principals and teachers that complain about having too much to teach and state test scores that don’t improve, even though the quality of delivered instruction is seemingly improving.
This can actually be the case. There are two factors at play with state testing.
- Has all the required content been taught.
- Was the required content taught well.
Most schools are getting better at the “taught well” part, while not improving at the “taught all the require content” part.
Which means that while things may be visibly improving in the classroom, test scores continue to flatline or even get worse.
Why? Think of it this way.
The state wants us to educate “Pilots” who can land the plane. Before, we can teach the “pilot” to land the plane, we do have to teach a lot of other things. Such as, plane components and systems, how to take off, turn, fly level, and navigate. All legitimate and logical. Then we have to teach the pilot how to land the plane. Which is close to impossible if all the prerequisite skills and understandings haven’t been taught.
But the state is really only concerned about the landing, so the test is 80% is about landing the plane. Which we never quite get to.
So, why are we surprised by the crash?
Think. Work. Achieve.
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