Thursday’s Christian Science Monitor ran a provocatively titled op-ed–“Good Teachers Teach to the Test.” In it former Los Angeles teacher and UCLA lecturer Walt Gardner contends that teaching to the test is “eminently sound pedagogy.” That’s educator-speak for “it’s the right thing to do.”
In the era of No Child Left Behind, many educators and observers have bemoaned teaching to the test. Gardner makes the case that teaching to the test in the right way is about much more than teaching kids to fill in tiny bubbles and master only basic skills and knowledge. Sadly, that does happen in some schools.
If a test measures what we want and expect students to learn and be able to demonstrate, then why not teach to the test? Flying in the face of conventional wisdom, Gardner argues that it’s entirely possible for a highly skilled educator to design an assessment integrated with their lesson plan and the overall curriculum.