Teachers, as you fill in your plan books for the upcoming school week, please take inventory and see how much time you’ve set aside for test prep. Even if you’ve disguised it by trying to call it something with a cuter name… Ask yourselves if that’s the best way for you and your students to spend your time at school for the next month; doubling up on math lessons, desks separated, sitting for extended periods of time, filling in bubbles to questions from a practice test from 2007? How can you prepare your students for the tests anyway? The tests contain text passages with lexile levels YEARS beyond the grade being assessed. You would probably have to give them multiple choice questions on Virgina Woolf’s, Mrs. Dalloway, (I’ve wrestled with that one for years,) in order to properly prepare.

Now I realize many teachers have been given the directive to test prep. But for those who were never given that directive, like me, don’t do it. If you do, you are contributing to this systemic problem and are validating the legitimacy of these state tests. And for what? For 34% of your students to pass? Just a smidge higher than the state average of 31%? Is that really worth wasting an entire month of valuable class time in which you can actually teach and the students can learn?

No matter what you call it, or what cute and fancy cover you put on the packet that you need copied for your students, extensive test prep is all the same- an absolute waste of creativity and progress. Stop legitimizing something that calls our students failures, when they’re really not.

From Taryn Kirk Glynn

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