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Old 03-24-2010, 06:30 AM
 
Location: Marietta, GA
7,846 posts, read 14,850,258 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lastminutemom View Post
I think it varies by school, but I believe that there are schools that really do teach to the test. I see elementary school students from some of Atlanta's top schools who have a ton of CRCT prep homework nightly from January to April.
Right, but again, if the subjects covered are what's on the syllabus for the class that year, then what's the problem? I understand the point that teachers concentrate on narrowly focused topics and ignore others that may not be on the test. To me, that's more of an issue with what we're testing, rather than how teachers are teaching.
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Old 03-24-2010, 05:27 PM
 
205 posts, read 611,688 times
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Thank you for all the responses.

Of course I would want the material that is on the CRCT to be covered in the classroom. The concern was more about how the material is presented. A neighboring elementary school has very high test scores, but when I talk to the parents many tell me that their child does not enjoy school and that the homework and schoolwork is comprised largely of worksheet after worksheet and rote memorization. I'd rather my children go to a school with medium test scores and an engaging learning environment, than one that scores highly due to drilled repetition.

It is encouraging to hear that high scores can be achieved through good teaching and parent involvement!! My oldest is only in Kindergarten so I have not been exposed to the CRCT or really any standardized testing.

I am visiting 2 more East Cobb Schools tomorrow. I am glad to be going in with added perspective.
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Old 03-24-2010, 05:59 PM
 
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Keep in mind that there is tremendous pressure on high scoring schools to keep the test scores high. Especially in places like parts of Atlanta and DeKalb where home values are closely correlated to the elementary schools, administrators at those schools face tremendous pressure from not only parents, but community members to keep those test scores high!

I always tell people that schools have personalities. Walton High School, for example is very competitive, and I know numerous East Cobb families who have elected for private school because they believed their children couldn't compete. (As I have related here before, a few years ago, there were more nationally ranked tennis players at Walton than spaces on the Walton tennis team.)

I know that some schools are more child centered than others while others are very structured and rigid.

Given that you already have a school age child, you should have some sense of what type of environment you want for your child.
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Old 03-24-2010, 06:11 PM
 
Location: East Cobb
2,206 posts, read 6,064,116 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lastminutemom View Post
I always tell people that schools have personalities. Walton High School, for example is very competitive, and I know numerous East Cobb families who have elected for private school because they believed their children couldn't compete.
That's so fascinatingly ironic. The forum here gets a reliable trickle of posts advising folks considering a move to East Cobb that finding a home in the Walton district is a sine qua non because Walton is just so superior. How ironic that some parents in this sought-after district actually resort to private school because they feel the Walton High pressure cooker is too much for their children.

Nothing against Walton. It just goes to show that parents need to make choices with their child in mind. No one educational setting is best for everyone.
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Old 03-24-2010, 08:56 PM
 
Location: Gwinnett County GA
37 posts, read 134,812 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neil0311 View Post
OK...I'll bite. I have never understood this nonsense being spouted about "teaching to the test." What else are you supposed to do....teach what's not going to be on the test? If the test is constructed correctly, and asks questions designed to test the knowledge learned by students that year, then damn right I want teachers to "teach to the test."

The challenge is to make sure the test is asking the correct questions. Ask questions that probe the complete knowledge that's expected to have been learned, and you will "teach to the test."
I think they are talking about the state required test, the CRCT. My second grader complains about the repetition of drilling on the same math problems over and over so that everyone can pass. I recall my older daughter complaining about the same thing when she was in elementary school. They also bought some expensive software program, (I think it's called "Classworks"), that they're required to use although the teachers and the students are burnt out having to use it all the time.
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Old 03-25-2010, 04:22 AM
 
Location: a warmer place
1,748 posts, read 4,924,921 times
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I have seen very little drilling at our school. An occasional CRCT like worksheet comes home and there is a contest running now (optional). The scores in the past traditionally at our school have been very high. I just don't think they need to drill....its more of a format thing for the younger kids.
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Old 03-25-2010, 06:07 AM
 
Location: Marietta, GA
7,846 posts, read 14,850,258 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hspinnler View Post
I think they are talking about the state required test, the CRCT. My second grader complains about the repetition of drilling on the same math problems over and over so that everyone can pass. I recall my older daughter complaining about the same thing when she was in elementary school. They also bought some expensive software program, (I think it's called "Classworks"), that they're required to use although the teachers and the students are burnt out having to use it all the time.
OK...what's the problem? Isn't that what teachers are supposed to do, teach the subject until all the children in the class can pass? What would the preferred action be....skip over it and go on to something else?

Sorry, but I'm just not getting the problem. Maybe if we went back to the way math was taught years ago, when people could actually do it, we'd be better off. Take calculators out of school too.

Again, make sure the test accurately measures the coursework, but test...test...test. If students can't pass the test, then there is a problem. You cannot know the coursework and still fail the test, assuming it is testing what has been taught.
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Old 03-25-2010, 06:09 AM
 
115 posts, read 375,174 times
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Teaching for the test is a minimum standard. That is the problem. If all students learn is the test material, they are not learning about other things, like critical thinking. Can someone get by in life and succeed having just been "taught to the test"? Well, sure. And in many schools, sadly, mastery of the test material would be a vast improvement. But I personally expect more from an education than the ability to do well on a standardized test. What if your high school career focused just as heavily on what was tested by the SAT? You'd get a great score on the SAT probably, but you'd miss a lot of other things. Like history and science. I agree with the original poster. I'd rather see more room for varied learning in the curriculum and fewer worksheets. It is one thing to make kids familiar with the way a standardized test asks questions. That's just making sure they can accurately show what they've learned. It is another to work on the questions for weeks, which is ridiculous. If the students know the material, once they know the format of the questions, they'll do fine.
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Old 03-25-2010, 06:17 AM
 
Location: Marietta, GA
7,846 posts, read 14,850,258 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yankeegirl73 View Post
Teaching for the test is a minimum standard. That is the problem. If all students learn is the test material, they are not learning about other things, like critical thinking.
Well I don't disagree completely, but if students can't meet the minimum standard, then everything else is moot.

Critical thinking and doing math aren't mutually exclusive. Besides, can you really teach something like "critical thinking" in and of itself? Isn't it a component of many subjects? These are not mutually exclusive goals. Critically thinking illiterates aren't in high demand.
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Old 03-25-2010, 06:35 AM
 
13,453 posts, read 21,929,187 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yankeegirl73 View Post
Teaching for the test is a minimum standard. That is the problem. If all students learn is the test material, they are not learning about other things, like critical thinking. Can someone get by in life and succeed having just been "taught to the test"? Well, sure. And in many schools, sadly, mastery of the test material would be a vast improvement. But I personally expect more from an education than the ability to do well on a standardized test. What if your high school career focused just as heavily on what was tested by the SAT? You'd get a great score on the SAT probably, but you'd miss a lot of other things. Like history and science. I agree with the original poster. I'd rather see more room for varied learning in the curriculum and fewer worksheets. It is one thing to make kids familiar with the way a standardized test asks questions. That's just making sure they can accurately show what they've learned. It is another to work on the questions for weeks, which is ridiculous. If the students know the material, once they know the format of the questions, they'll do fine.



You know what you are talking about.
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