I am participating in the Two Writing Teachers Annual March Slice of Life Story Challenge.
March seems to be that time of year when doubt begins to creep in. We begin to question whether we have done enough, been enough. Yes, it is that time when what we have done gets put under a microscope under the disguise of standardized state testing. It has become part of the educational central nervous system, a system in which many believe that all else functions.
Friday, our State Superintendent of Education puts out a weekly newsletter. In this newsletter was a video about "test prep and pep." Finding the title intriguing, I clicked on it and was quite pleased by its message.
I believe that it honestly put test prep and pep where it belongs, as a natural part of teaching and learning - not front and center. It explained how test prep and pep "places undue attention on testing and damages the cycle of teaching, learning, and assessment." They further explain how this leads to additional anxiety and stress on students and encourages schools not to do these types of activities.
I have never been a fan of test prep and pep. I believe that if I teach my students to be strong, strategic, and critical readers and writers throughout the year, then I am teaching them to be prepared for the test, any test. I try to explain to my students that I do not teach them something because it will "be on a test." I teach them something because they need these skills to be literate human beings and to be part of our society.
Now I just wish they would put out a video on how testing shouldn't be used to evaluate teachers.