Students Learn by Doing, Not Testing


Eliminating weeks of meaningful instructional time (projects, research, learning activities, performances, field trips…) so that tests can be administered to measure student growth and achievement is like an overweight person cancelling membership at the gym for a month in order to get weight and blood pressure checked at the doctor’s office each day.

This approach makes CENTS to edupreneurs and data miners because they view education through data-driven and test-centric glasses. From a learning and student-centered perspective, this approach is academically, socially, and emotionally bankrupt.

The Common Core regime of annual high stakes testing will not improve student proficiency but it will certainly increase the profits of those selling CCSS workbooks, test prep materials, and software solutions.

Standardized tests should be administered on a grade-span basis to more accurately identify and measure trends in student learning over a multi-year time period as student cognitive growth may be delayed one year but sprint ahead the next.

The relationship between standardized testing and the Common Core is toxic, and has poisoned the implementation and assessment well. Relying on this annual erroneous test data can actually delay and inhibit learning as students are mislabeled as “falling behind” and then subjected to more sit and learn time at the expense of recess and more vigorous learning experiences that would actually stimulate their fluid intelligence…

“Fluid intelligence is directly linked to creativity and innovation. The book smarts of crystallized intelligence can only take a person so far in the real world. Depriving children of recess and forcing them to sit still in a chair cramming for a standardized test literally causes their cerebellum to shrink and lowers fluid intelligence…”

~ Christopher Bergland, “Too Much Crystallized Thinking Lowers Fluid Intelligence”12/26/13

Preparing our students for the academic, social, and emotional challenges of college and careers is about cultivating self-efficacy and healthy risk-taking rather than self-doubt and more proficient test-taking. Students learn from taking risks and testing things, not taking tests.



5 thoughts on “Students Learn by Doing, Not Testing

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