This book includes a plain text version that is designed for high accessibility. To use this version please follow this link.
to be tied directly to test scores, being required to give weekly benchmark tests, or utilizing prescribed and narrow curricula. Because the comments voiced by teachers are valid, how- ever, does not mean that these apprehensions are always correct. Addressing these concerns is a tricky task. It is absolutely imperative to help teachers through these roadblocks, because unless teachers see the potential for success, there is little chance they will adjust their class- room philosophy and practices. In the following paragraphs, I break down these comments and provide a practical lesson of how each hurdle can be overcome. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but during school visits I have seen these concerns expressed on a consistent basis, across all grade levels and subjects.

Concern #1: “This seems great, but I have to prepare students for end-of-year tests”

It can be difficult to convince teachers that differentiation and high-stakes testing can in- deed coexist. On the surface, it seems logical for educators to simply provide students with the specifics of the material found on these tests, since every single student will take the same exam. It should also seem logical, then, that offering students opportunities to receive an appropriate level of challenge, or to learn in a more efficient manner, would increase the likelihood of their success on these end-of-year assessments. Simply teaching for the success of a test score means that teachers expect all students to reach a set level of achievement. Given that all students are different, why should this be the case? There is nothing wrong with preparing students for an end-of-year test. However, it is entirely possible to ensure pre- paredness for these assessments, while at the same time trying to help all students attain an individual upper limit of growth. Said differently, instead of trying to get all students to one set level, why not try and get all learners to reach their highest possible level? It stands to reason that entire classes will be more successful on state mandated, high-stakes tests if the individual needs of students in these classes are met.

Schools today often devote weeks to reviewing for high-stakes tests. During my stint teach- ing high school social studies, I distinctly remember being told by the administration that the two weeks leading up to the testing date should be reserved solely to review a year’s worth of teaching. In my mind, this meant putting up overhead slides with key terms from the state standards and having students identify or define them. I recall being bored to tears with this sustained instructional repetition. I can’t imagine how awful it must have been for my stu- dents. Needless to say, it wasn’t one of my finer moments teaching, but I felt compelled to make this final push due to the pressure for my students to succeed.

Since hindsight is always 20/20, it is painfully clear to me now what I ought to have done. In- stead of spending every class reviewing the same information for all students, I should have instead taken the time to discover what information students already knew, understood, and

Virginia Educational Leadership

Vol. 7 No. 1

Spring 2010

36 Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73
Produced with Yudu -