Sunday, September 14, 2014

Will We Opt for Test Readiness or Readiness for College and Life?

Imagine the future.  You're applying to colleges.  Your test scores are out of this world.  Perhaps your transcript says Success Academy upon it.  Everything looks bright, eh?

So, will you be a success in college?  Will you be a success in life?  It seems Success Academy, and many like it, train students for one set of tests.  The scope is narrow.  Of the twenty-seven Success Academy students who attempted to pass the NYC entrance exams for the elite high schools, not a single child experienced Success.  Their skills do not seem to carry over from one test to the next, let alone college or life.

Mastering a review book will not help students much in college.  Professors often ask students to read more than a hundred pages a week.  Students may need to think creatively and call upon skills that were left by the wayside in the mad rush to prep for state tests.

If the "reformers" really wanted students to prep for college, they would spend less time mandating high-stakes tests that can only lead to excessive prepping.  They would spend more time encouraging teachers to trade review books for the writing in more worthy texts.  They would encourage classroom discussion and dialogue revolving around these more worthy texts, instead of "bubble" tests.

And, for anyone who truly thinks the Common Core tests prepare students for life, when was the last time you were asked to take a test?  Did your fiance give you a test before a ring?  Were you asked to take a test in anticipation of your first child?  Did you advance in your career by excelling on tests?  And, will the gates to the great beyond be barred by a battery of tests?
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