Monday, June 16, 2008

Regents Exams

Throughout my student teaching I began to realize that the assessments (the regents) in classes don't always match up with my learning goals for my students. This of course drove me to bring other types of assessments into the classroom; however, I also felt it important to prepare my students for the regents exam not only through content but for the language used in the regents. There are specific "regents exam literacy or language" that students need to learn but is teaching them this considered teaching to the test?


Cassandra said...

the teacher next door to me tells his students that he doesn't teach to the test, but he does test to the test by using regents questions. I think that this is a good way to prepare students for the test without spending a lot of class time dedicated to the test or test prep.

Heather said...

The phrase "teaching to the test" has begun to take on a life of its own. I think it is important to recognize that tests in of themselves are not bad. I see nothing wrong with reviewing last year's exams and incorporating what needs to improve into the curriculum. I see nothing wrong with teaching "testing skills" just as that ...skills. And, I see nothing wrong with appropriate time on test review and prep. However, where it becomes down right abusive is the pressure we put on the students. Tests are just one form of many assessments, not the end all. No matter how much pressure is placed on us by the powers above to "get students to perform" on tests, no matter what the consequences to ourselves, I firmly believe that it is our duty as teachers, as the adults, to not transfer this pressure to the kids. It is cruel to do otherwise. "Teaching to the test" to me means drilling, memorization and worse, blaming, pressuring and valuing a student simply for the scores they produce. We also pressure students by being required to give them tests that are inappropriate assessments for who they are or what they do. We pressure students buy linking their performance to things like funding and faculty and staff incomes. However, expecting students to learn well from your carefully written lessons, produce many types of of successful assessments, learn testing skills, and share what they know ...this is not teaching to the test. This is becoming a professional learner.

Jason Lustig said...

You gotta do what you gotta do to get them to pass, and it sounds like along the way you're also doing what you feel is valuable to them in the longrun by supplementing the basics of the testing. Sounds like you're doing everything right! We should all have been so lucky as to have a teacher work hard to really educate us and prepare us for the tests simultaneously.