Recently an administrator complimented me on all the innovative ways I incorporate technology in my classroom. The administrator then asked how that will translate on this year’s (new) state standardized test. My answer, “I don’t care. I’m looking at the bigger picture,” was most likely not what said administrator was expecting or wanted to hear.
Our education system is out of focus. There will NEVER be successful educational reform in our country until we stop focusing on a test scores (every single year) and start leveling the playing field. Yes, poorer communities need more money because they need more resources. They face greater hurdles. Taking money away from poor communities because they perform worse on tests is like being surprised that you sprained your ankle in a field full of holes. Neither makes sense. Spend money to fix the field, no sprain. Spend money to help fill gaps in poor performing schools, closes educational gaps.
So back to the conversation I had with the administrator. I went on to further explain that what I am teaching the students goes beyond being successful on this year’s test. They are learning to THINK for themselves, ask QUESTIONS, work out problems with others (like the real world), be CREATIVE and seamlessly INTEGRATE TECHNOLOGY, with purpose.
I challenge my students to learn more than what’s in a text book. They are expected to give presentations (large, small, and everything in between), explore new tools (low tech and high tech), talk, take ownership over their learning, and so much more. Many of those expectations can’t be measured on a standardized test.
So how does all that translate to a standardized test? Yup, still don’t care. How does that translate to their success in life; that, I have high expectations for. And from what I’m hearing from the middle school teachers, they are succeeding.