The latest National Assessment of Educational Progress (released in May 2014) had some shocking news: since 2009, there has been no improvement in math and reading performance among our nation’s high school seniors. Despite the trillions of dollars we have hurdled into our schools, our students aren’t better off in those subjects.
How can that be? It seems to me that the problem lies in that we simply teach to the test. We train thousands of students to learn a few of the “core” subjects so they score well on tests - but that doesn’t really make the students better educated. Higher test scores in any subject does not mean these young adults are smarter. Think about the utterly essential part of success: learning how to write well. This is a prime example of a subject that no multiple-choice test can measure.
To really learn, students must have the thirst to drink from the fountain of knowledge. They must feel compelled to understand problems and have the urge to find the solution, even if that means they answer incorrectly. Yes, the core subjects are important for students to learn - but let’s not forget about literature, music and the arts - and the other subjects that help teach students to explore.
What the latest National Assessment of Educational Progress tells us is alarming. How have ten years passed, and these trillions of dollars not rendered any improvement in math and reading performance among high school seniors?
There are some schools out there that are taking a better approach at teaching today’s diverse student population but so much more needs to be done. What public education needs is the ability to implement more practical models of teaching to guide students instead of following master plans devised to ensure students test well.
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The opinions expressed in Education Futures: Emerging Trends in K-12 are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.