Are we creating an environment for learning that focuses on learning, or just learning to test well?
Are they better off if they are simply learning how to test well? Does this help them enjoy school more?
I am grappling with the focus on more test prep. (I was around during the last focus on raising scores) If we only look at how to do better on the test, will this help them become better thinkers, creators, critical thinkers?
This post is not about having all the answers, because, frankly, I have more questions than answers. But the more I learn and the longer I am in education, I do know which way I would prefer, as a learner, as a teacher. If I focus on the student, working on becoming a better teacher and spending time reflecting on that and trying to be more creative and offer kids rich, learning experiences that develop their thinking skills, won’t the data (AKA test scores) naturally go up?
On the flip side, if I spend more of my time on test prep, so they’ll be ready for the ‘big test’, is that better? Is it better if they score better on the Test, if they learn to hate school? Is it better if they simply see school as preparation for the test, instead of a place for learning and the test is just one way to show what has been learned?
I understand that these are not always opposed to each other and I understand that data is not the problem. As George Couros has stated, being data-driven is. Because it is far too easy to forget that there is a real live, small human on the other end. It is too easy to just reduce them to numbers. I would rather be “Child Driven and evidence informed”. I think that is a better perspective to view teaching and learning…CHILD DRIVEN.
After all, those human children are likely the main reason we got into teaching. Not to test kids, but to make them better humans and truly lifelong learners.