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teaching to and for standardized tests


Senior Member
This is so aggravating, and I'm wondering if it's a regional thing or just a thing in my area.

I love teaching Science; Social Studies is okay. In 3rd grade in Louisiana, it's not promotional, so those subjects get the least teaching time. I feel like later in life, their (the kids) background needs to be there for those subjects. Especially for 4th grade, where those subjects are promotional. My problem with that is the other subjects being taught are squeezing in what will be on the Standardized test (in March).

For instance, some skill in math may have been hard for the majority of the grade level. There will be no reteaching because "we have to get through the material". Some people would rather teach all the skills to say "well, I covered it" than to make sure they have mastered the skills. I can see both sides of it where you have to cover it just to expose the child to the skill.

This probably makes no sense, but I guess what I'm getting at is this. Are standardized tests done in every state/district? Is March early for this kind of testing?

Also, after testing is done with, kids and teachers slack off on the instruction. Why can't standardized tests be right before school is out? I suppose I can answer that because if you don't pass those tests in 4th and 8th grade, you aren't promoted to the next grade.

Why are there standardized tests? Are teachers not trusted to get the children to learn all the information?

Vent over.



Hi there,

Right now, in Oregon, tests are ruling EVERYTHING! I teach third and I have to play the game. We get state report cards as well as the AYP junk right now. We take a test on the computer called TESA. It's great, in that, we have all year to get the kids to pass. It sucks because we have all year to get the kids to pass. This means they can take it three times and that's what the district wants! So, we took it in October. We are taking it now, and we take it again in May. AND now the district is telling us that it's not enough to get the kids to pass, we have to get them to exceed! Ugh! Where does it end? These tests don't even tell the real progress of the kids. The district will even tell us they know the results are screwy, but we need to get the report of "exceptional" school by the state. It's a game that we need to learn and unfortunately social studies and science are getting forgotten because of it.

As to your question about teachers being trusted, that pretty much went out the window with NCLB in my opinion.


Full Member
Testing is ruling everything! or rather ruining everything. I live in MI and we do the MEAP test in October and the Iowa in the spring. This is for 3rd grade. In between we have about 12 different assessments we have to administer. It is ridiculous! All I do is give assessments! I feel like I never really have time to teach. My grade level colleagues are all into "well I covered it" who cares how well or how many mastered it. I am more of the philosophy of teach it, master it, move on, revisit often. I am in the minority in that thinking in my school.


Senior Member

I just moved to Louisiana from Texas, and it's the same way in Texas with their TAKS test. From what I gather, standardized tests are a big deal everywhere. It was even the topic of an episode of Boston Public a couple of years ago. Spring seems to be test time everywhere, although I'm not exactly sure why. I guess that's toward the end of the year and hopefully before students' brains shut down in May.

I can understand why there are standardized tests. The public wants to make sure that teachers are doing their jobs and that students are learning. The problem is that too much emphasis is on the test, and it's keeping teachers from doing their jobs. When I was in school, the test wasn't that big of a deal because we spent time learning content, not studying for a test. By the time the test came around, we knew the content well enough to do well on the tests.


Senior Member
Ha, this is funny because our resource teacher went to a conference that a Texas lady was giving. She had TAKS information and booklets. OUr resource teacher took it and now on top of iLeap, Cams, Stams, Cars and Stars, now we are expected to use the TAKS guide as a resource too. HOW DO I GET REPORT CARD GRADES????????


Senior Member
Well...I'm with you...teaching in LA now, but

I used to teach in MS, and they also do standardized tests(Mississippi Curriculum Test) and it's a pass/fail situation there too, with the older kids...sad as it might be...and they do norm-referenced tests(Terra Nova- 6th graders took this one), and Writing tests(7th graders took this one)...(three separate tests, mind you...in one year.)

When the Leap determined pass/failing, and the exit exam determined graduation in Louisiana, my brother and I were both in high school. (Oooooh.....lucky us.) Many of the students I started 9th grade with, didn't graduate...actually I started 12th grade with 240 students...only 204 actually graduated...the others were having to re-take the LEAP during the summer, and had to get a certificate of completion...which was just plain downright crummy, IMHO.



Senior Member
NCLB to blame

No Child Left Behind means a lot of things to me:

No test left untaught.

No child gets ahead.

I keep hoping that the pendulum will soon swing away from all this emphasis on testing.


Senior Member
our school

I teach in a catholic school and we do not take the standardized tests that the PA public schools do. We do take the Standford Achievement tests. We take them the first week in October. We get the results the first of the year. We then have the rest of the year to work on the weak areas students have.

Marie from PA


Full Member
a thought

I'm not trying to be confrontational, but don't you have to move on after material has been covered? I guess I think concepts can be introduced, but mastery may come years later. Just something to think about...


Junior Member

I like the comment "No child gets ahead." How true!!! I teach special ed. and my kids are expected to take the 8th grade Math and English SOL (Standards of Learning) tests. Being special ed. they are only required to pass the math and english 8 tests. WIth AYP, my kids are also expected to pass the tests by 2014. If they can pass the tests, they would be in regular education classes. No offense to my kids but most of my kids are functioning on 3, 4, or maybe 5th grade levels. I have to teach my 8th graders to solve for "y" but they may not know how to count money or tell time. The tests are multiple choice so I spend most of my time teaching them how to use the choices to help them find the answer - not good teaching I know but the "right" way is often just too confusing for them. Problem solving is almost impossible - they don't have the skills needed to reason out answers. They can take the test as many times as it is given until graduation but by the 2nd or 3rd time, they have pretty much given up. Does this sound like "No Child Left Behind" is working???