Category: Testing


PISA Scores and Why They Matter: The Impact of High-Stakes Tests on Instruction – Part 3

Several years ago, I read journalist Amanda Ripley’s book The Smartest Kids in The World. I mean, what teacher wouldn’t be sucked in by that title? It proved as provocative as its name, and I have to admit that prior to reading her book, I had never heard of PISA.

The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) is a worldwide survey conducted every three years by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). First administered in the year 2000 to […]

Continue Reading

Stop Teaching to the Test!

Last week we ended our post with an encouragement for teachers to stop teaching to the test. We realize this is a frightening proposal to teachers and administrators whose evaluations and even paychecks are reliant on test scores. That’s why we want to continue the case this week with Kelly Gallagher’s 201 Education Week commentary, Why I Will Not Teach to the Test wherein he addresses this riddle:

“…while many states have raised their test scores over the past […]

Continue Reading

The Impact of High-Stakes Tests on Instruction – Part 2

New assessments have arrived.

Both Common Core and non-Common Core states, for the most part, are in the midst of a standards revolution and are subsequently adopting new corresponding assessments. I’m sure you know this. It would be impossible to have missed the uproar.

In many cases the designers of these assessments have attempted to address more accurately the kinds of rigorous work that we want students to be doing daily in classrooms, versus the shallow, formulaic and multiple-choice questions of old. […]

Continue Reading

The Impact of High-Stakes Tests on Instruction – Part 1

I recently had the privilege of observing a third grade classroom in Thompson School District in Loveland, Colorado. The students had read through the article “Day of Disaster” by Lauren Tarshis (Reading and Writing About Informational Texts, Grade 3 microcourse) with their teacher and had charted together the unfamiliar words and confusing moments from the text. They were brainstorming as a class what resources and strategies they might use to solve these difficulties. The strategies included things like “re-read the […]

Continue Reading

Dropping Out and Opting Out of Common Core Assessments

Spring testing is upon us, and what a hoopla here in Colorado over the new Common Core State Standards assessments. Debates are sizzling over test scores, the amount of instructional time lost, and whether the standards themselves are appropriate. Opting-out of the tests is all the rage for parents and students, and states are dropping out of their consortiums like flies. It seems we all might benefit from a step back, a deep breath, and a few words from some […]

Continue Reading