Advice for parents on high-stakes testing in public schools

Percy L. Abram, PhD explains the role of high-stakes standardized testing in the education system
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Advice for parents on high-stakes testing in public schools

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The role of high-stakes testing in public schools has in many ways altered what we think about teaching and what we think about learning. When I think about high-stakes testing, I think about it as a classification system. It's a way for teachers and educators to classify those who have been successful on a discrete set of skills and those who are unsuccessful on those set of skills. What is not done with that information then is find ways to improve the learning outcomes of those who need the most support. But rather find ways that you can justify your teaching by ensuring that they become more successful on the tests that you deem to be the most important. The way that we use standardized testing at my school is we give students standardized tests starting in 3rd grade in the fall. We get the results in November. And then teachers at each grade level work together to identify the specific areas of need for their classroom so that they can teach to improve reading comprehension, so they can teach to improve match concepts, so they can teach to improve critical reasoning skills. Because each group in the classroom is different, and the role of a teacher is to take those students where they are and find ways to stretch and grow their minds so they improve their learning outcomes.

Percy L. Abram, PhD explains the role of high-stakes standardized testing in the education system

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Percy L. Abram, PhD

Head of School

Percy Abram is the Head of Gateway School.  Gateway School is a Kindergarten – 8th grade independent school in Santa Cruz, CA.  Prior to joining Gateway School, Dr. Abram was the Upper Division Director at Brentwood School in Los Angeles.  An LA native, Dr. Abram received his B.A. (Economics) and M.A. (Education) degrees from UCLA, and his M.A. (Sociology) and Ph.D. (Education) from Stanford University.  Dr. Abram and his wife are the parents of a 10-year old daughter and 7-year old son, and despite running a school and being responsible for 260 students each day, he still finds parenting his most challenging job.

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