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When Testing Gets in the Way of Teaching

Today’s students spend a lot of time preparing for tests which seems to interfere with more comprehensive learning in many cases. With so much focus placed squarely on standardized testing, an unacceptably large number of students are progressing through school without the foundational reading and writing skills that are mandatory for academic success.

So much emphasis is placed on testing there remains little time to focus on closing gaps in learning. At the elementary level, many students lack basic reading and writing skills necessary for academic success. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, as of 2018, there were 4,000,000 fourth grade students in America’s public schools. Three million of those fourth graders do not read proficiently.

Many students make it all the way to high school without ever having learned to read. Some become disenfranchised with school, demonstrate behavior problems in class, or become truant and drop out altogether. Left to navigate their lives without the minimum necessity of a high school diploma, many young people discover the hard way that it is difficult to maintain a living with no education or marketable skills. Even with marketable skills, the lack of diploma can interfere significantly with gaining meaningful employment.

 

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