The problem with teaching to the test

Learn about: The problem with teaching to the test from Joel Pelcyger,...
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The problem with teaching to the test

There are many things that have contributed to a failed education system. Teaching to the test has got to be right at the top as to reasons that the school system has failed. Teaching to the test tells kids that there are a few things that are important, that your job is to regurgitate what your teacher has taught you, that your measure of success is very limited. We're only concerned with these particular language arts schools, and these particular math skills. All the other kinds of intelligence are less important. You're here to please the teacher. You're here to give back what they want to be hearing. I can remember, I succeeded in school. I did very, very well, because I learned how to give back whatever it was they were asking for. And I spent a lot of time in my early school years in a nurse's office, because my stomach was churning and upset. There have been a lot of bad decisions made over the 43 years that I've started and run my school. The worst decision was teaching to the test, but there have been a whole series of them. And you can't just blame teaching to the test. I think the biggest problem is that people think there's a panacea. If only we do this one thing, everything will be fine in education. And it's just not true. So then they thought, let's have grade inflation. If everybody can feel like they're doing better in school, then everything is fine. Well it's not fine. And it also speaks to very old skills. If you think about what the world is like today and what gets rewarded today and what's important in the job market today, teaching to the test is very limiting. It prescribes what teachers want to know, what an educational system wants to know, rather than who a child is, why a child wants to learn, why they do better when they are motivated. And that comes from inside out, not from outside in.

Learn about: The problem with teaching to the test from Joel Pelcyger,...


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Joel Pelcyger

Head of School

Joel Pelcyger is the Founder and Head of PS1 Pluralistic School, an elementary school for grades K-6. PS1 was founded in 1971 and is a family-oriented, independent, and non-profit school located in the heart of Santa Monica, CA.

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