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Old 03-23-2010, 01:34 PM
 
205 posts, read 613,014 times
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Hi. For parents of kids who attend schools that have very high CRCT scores, do you think it positively or negatively impacts the kids learning environment?

A) Is the academic experience in high-ranking schools really excellent,

B) Or do they just really drill test prep into the students?

I am thinking that it would vary depending on the school, but would love to find a school where A) is more true than B).

Test scores really haven't been my main focus while I look at schools for us to relocate to. But when I discover that the ones I like also have high test scores, I was just curious to find out if there is a downside.

Also, is there a public source of 2009 CRCT scores? School Digger only shows scores as recent as 2008.

Thank you.
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Old 03-23-2010, 01:56 PM
 
Location: a warmer place
1,748 posts, read 4,933,946 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lilycharm View Post
Hi. For parents of kids who attend schools that have very high CRCT scores, do you think it positively or negatively impacts the kids learning environment?

A) Is the academic experience in high-ranking schools really excellent,

B) Or do they just really drill test prep into the students?

I am thinking that it would vary depending on the school, but would love to find a school where A) is more true than B).

Test scores really haven't been my main focus while I look at schools for us to relocate to. But when I discover that the ones I like also have high test scores, I was just curious to find out if there is a downside.

Also, is there a public source of 2009 CRCT scores? School Digger only shows scores as recent as 2008.

Thank you.
Try Greatschools.net they probably have the 2009 though I haven't checked recently. I think high CRCT's correlates for more to the socio economics of the area. Kids in the wealthier school districts generally have parents with more time, resources, and motivation hence better test scores. Not that these types of parents don't exist in other areas...its just more of a volume thing.

If you are coming from afar though its a good place to start (test scores). Other than visiting a school and getting personal recommendations there really isn't anything else to go on.
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Old 03-23-2010, 02:37 PM
 
Location: East Cobb
2,206 posts, read 6,074,541 times
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If I recall correctly, Lily is looking to move from some other part of the metro area to East Cobb.

In my experience, East Cobb schools don't appear to do a lot of "teaching to the test". Around here, the CRCT is considered pretty easy. Just as kaday says, the typical family incomes in the area are associated with homes that tend to produce children who start school well prepared, enjoy lots of enriching out-of-school experiences, and are encouraged and expected to do well at school by their parents. Those parents also expect the schools to be good, and they generally are.
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Old 03-23-2010, 02:51 PM
 
Location: ATL suburb
1,366 posts, read 3,693,755 times
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I can only speak for my son's school, but I don't find that they "drill". Now, about once a week, we get homework that is structured either like the math or the reading section of the CRCT, and I'm pretty sure they've taken at least one practice test at school. So, do they prepare the kids, absolutely. But my son brings home all the work he's done for the week and speaks on and on (and on....) about what they did at school, and I hear very little about CRCT practice. We were also given IDs and passwords for our kids to take the practice tests on the computer at home, and I know of many parents who've used this with their kids.

So no, I don't think all of the high performing schools teach to the test, but they do spend time preparing them for it.
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Old 03-23-2010, 04:48 PM
 
Location: Marietta, GA
7,846 posts, read 14,880,588 times
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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."
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Old 03-23-2010, 05:46 PM
 
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I have to somewhat agree with neil. I have a third grader. And he goes to a really good public school. Much like anadyr, I find that most of the year is regular teaching but they do some prep work for CRCT. Right now, since the test is close, they are practicing the test and taking home review sheets, etc.

But, like neil, I don't mind a little bit of "teaching to the test". First of all, the test is real info the kids should know. Second, it's not too far off from the way they need ot prepare for life. It helps them learn to study - study methods and habits. It helps learn to focus. It helps them learn discipline. And they do learn the material.

But I do see how it would be a problem if the school's curriculum did NOTHING else and excluded other subjects and teaching the kids to use their creative juices. My kid's school doesn't do that. I think most of the top rated school are probably like that.
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Old 03-23-2010, 06:55 PM
 
Location: East Cobb
2,206 posts, read 6,074,541 times
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I agree with Neil and Pless and just want to add that I very recently heard Margaret Spellings ( Secretary of Education in the G. W. Bush administration) interviewed on the radio. She was asked about "teaching to the test" and she responded that if the test tests what you want the kids to learn, then teaching to the test is hardly a problem.

Spellings was being interviewed about the Obama administration's proposed overhaul of NCLB, and she was expressing cautious optimism about most of the proposed changes. It was nice to hear somebody (formerly) in government not being hysterically opposed to every idea of the other side, for a change.
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Old 03-23-2010, 07:36 PM
 
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There are public schools with high test scores that drill, drill, drill...lots of worksheets, lots of homework (more worksheets), lots of timed tests and reading quotas, etc. There are other schools with high test scores that engage the kids in experiential learning, extended individual, group and classwide projects, lots of field trips all the while keeping drilling and worksheets to a minimum. Essentially, the latter engages students and expects/trusts them to learn as a natural result of the engagement. The former forces learning through repetition, and a carrot/stick approach.

You can only tell one from the other if you tour the school, visit its classrooms, and talk to lots of parents who have children there. Greatschools is a fairly good start to get a feel for school culture. You can tell a lot by the tone of the comments.
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Old 03-23-2010, 10:51 PM
 
Location: GA
2,753 posts, read 9,592,795 times
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In my experience, there isn't as much teaching to the test as there is test prep. The month prior there's much preparation, especially with practice tests. If the curriculum is geared towards passing the test, I would think standards will be met or exceeded.
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Old 03-24-2010, 04:42 AM
 
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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.
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