Why is it we never question a football, basketball, or baseball coach?
They can yell, scream, kick things at us and we keep on working hard, harder, hardest! We never question them because it is an ultimate privilege to wear the uniform. There are plenty of students that will quit, give up and go home. Throwing up while running just isn't their idea of football practice. And yes, the coach will win. Forfeiting all the students that just didn't have enough get-up-in-go.
But the real questions are:
Is it fun? No.
Does it feel good? No
Do we ultimately know it will prepare us for the endurance test ahead? YES.
Winning feels good, wearing a jersey feels good. Being a part of something great and earning the title "I worked hard" feels great.
Why does that same principle not work for test prep?
Parents and students have accepted this idea that school should be fun. What the heck is fun about test prep? Now keep in mind, there are multitudes of strategies and ways to make it more interesting for the kids, but have we missed the point? Why has teaching turned into making everything fun? Students need to be engaged with highly engaging texts and responding with their peers, but does that mean they will be smiling the whole time? NO Please do not take this post as I don't think school should be fun. (I am a big fan of having meaningful fun in the classroom, enjoying read alouds, laughing, etc) School is a bazillion times more fun than when I was a child. I think we should consider the implications in not allowing our children to see tests as an opportunity but instead a beast that comes at the end of the year.
Am I the only disillusioned person to believe every waking minute of school work should be smile worn and laughing. I want kids to delve into texts and question the author, argue the better answer, defend their mistakes but accept the better choice. I believe multiple choice questions in the classroom can be a discussion spring board and the final test a battle of wits! (Please do not believe I am a teacher that teaches test prep all year. I do a little spiral review each week, but we work on project based learning, real world writing, emotional reading, real social studies and inquiry science) I just believe that the tests continue to hold students and teachers accountable. ( I would make my real money when we could figure out a way to hold the parents accountable, LOL) Testing has become a fixture in schools of all kinds. It's not going anywhere any time soon.
Is it fun?
Heck to the NO!
Do we need it?
Is it important to prepare the students to have better scores?
The answer is yes, students need to be better prepared to take standardized tests because that's how we are measured against other schools, states, and countries.
Should our curriculum reflect test prep all year?
Absolutely NOT! I think many people have had a tremendous amount of success using spiral review all throughout the year, fun culminating activities, and more.
Now take that same idea or principle and apply it to our students for test prep.
Is it fun? No.
Does it feel good? No
Do we ultimately know it will prepare us for the endurance test ahead? NO
We need to change this perception of end of grade testing. Teachers now are held to higher standards, as well as students. We should want to better prepare them for testing on those final days of 5th, 6th, 10th, whatever grade. I hope students will see that hard work of any magnitude will help them reach their goals in life. Here's to all the hardworking kiddos that will rock the world. Don't give up!
I would love to hear your test prep thoughts! I love my blogger friends!