Friday, April 3, 2009

"Teaching to the Test" and Merit Pay

Baton Rouge's own Gray Lady, The Advocate, published an editorial today supporting the concept of basing teacher pay on the results of standardized tests taken by students.

In a recent EdLog post, we described that particular version of merit pay as a "well intentioned bad idea," based on available research. In order to get maximum results on standardized tests, it is necessary for teachers to focus on the answers to the questions printed on bubble sheets.

The Advocate editorial quotes State Superintendent of Education Paul Pastorek as saying “Teaching to the test is a good thing, because what students need to learn is on the test.”

That comment is certain to raise eyebrows in the education profession, where "teaching to the test" is a controversial subject.

If you are a classroom teacher, we'd like to know what you think. Please click here and give us your answer to a one-question survey: Do you believe that "teaching to the test" is an appropriate way to improve student performance in Louisiana?

Results will be published in an upcoming EdLog post.

1 comment:

Ouchita Parish Teacher said...

I think there is a misinterpretation of the term "Teach to the Test". Instaed of focusing all year on THE TEST, if teachers will focus on the standards and GLE's, then they will be focusing on the material that is being tested, therefore teaching TO the test. The same GLE's and benchmarks that the teachers use to plan their lessons are used to write the tests. If a teacher spends the year teaching to the GLE's and standards that he or she is required to address, then he or she has taught TO the test. I don't believe focusing on small parts of the test will make students test scores rise, and spending 6 weeks teaching students "how to be good test takers" will not benefit students either. When students can successfully learn the topics addressed in the GLE's, then they will be successful on THE TEST. Therein lies the difference between "Teaching FOR the Test or Teaching THE test" and "Teaching TO the Test".