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What does it mean to “teach to the test,” and how is it different from “teaching to the rigor?” Many schools and districts give students round after round of reading and writing items that mimic the questions they will see on their state’s high-stakes assessment. Some educators believe practice makes perfect and, hence, more practice is better than less in increasing students’ odds for higher test scores.
Most students who struggle to read do so for reasons that have nothing to do with intellect or capability. With the right instruction, some patience, and a caring teacher, every student can be more, achieve more, and prove they are more than the limitations that categorize them.
A foundational ability of humans is the willingness to try things to see how they work out. This might be the most important talent we have developed.
American educators have a well-honed way of thinking about curriculum. Typically, district committees compare and then adopt a curriculum to meet specific goals or guidelines. More recently, curriculum adoption in math has been driven by state or national standards.
That ultra-basic approach—fed children learn better than hungry ones—has a counterpart in the realm of individualized strategies for dealing with struggling students.
Is there a more efficient way to begin PD or coaching, one where the teachers’ needs are more common than they are divergent? Can this be done in a way that is nonthreatening, at least in comparison to in-class coaching with feedback?
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