Friday, April 8, 2011
Nurture or the Test...
A teacher writes in Edweek that she feels torn between preparing students for the test and really nurturing them.
I am neither a fan nor opponent of standardized testing....Tests serve a particular and narrow purpose, and thought of rightly I can be perfectly comfortable using them.
I am befuddled, though, that the tests and nurturing children are mutually exclusive. I have no doubt that they overlap, but only some. I can't see they are totally exclusive. Another author in Edweek has just argued that the kids who read with enthusiasm do well on the reading-based tests (which in so many ways means all the subject tests).
To say that the tests and nurturing are mutually exclusive is to say that the testing process actually captures or evaluates NOTHING of what real nurturing teaching produces.
It seems to me that good teaching will, in fact, produce at least some learning outcomes that will be captured on the test. Ideally (IDEALLY), the test should capture evidence that teachers have done a good job nurturing a child. Nurture well and widely, create good outcomes, and the test becomes something of an afterthought.
(I agree, by the way, that the tests do not accomplish this ideal very well. I'm only saying that it is not impossible that the test could so capture a decent portion of the 'right' stuff.)
Posted by Andrew Milton at 9:17 AM