Check out this excerpt from my book, Self-Driven Learning, “Ethical and Effective Test Prep”
It’s approaching the time in many states when our students will have to take annual standardized tests.
I’ve written quite a few posts about how I prepare my students to take them, as well as posts writing about how bad the tests are. I thought I’d bring them all together in one “The Best…” list.
I’ve made it quite clear that our school we intentionally do little explicit “test-prep” work with our students. Instead, we believe the work we do during the entire year prepares them to be lifelong learners and that this will show-up in test results. We also do a number of things to help students feel positive on test days.
Please feel free to offer suggestions for other good resources on how to prepare students for the tests, or pieces that show why the tests are bad.
You might also be interested in A Beginning “The Best…” List Of Free & Decent Online Practice Sites For State Tests — Help Me Add More!
Here are my choices for The Best Posts On How To Prepare For Standardized Tests (And Why They’re Bad):
PREPARING FOR TESTS
The Cognitive Benefits of Chewing Gum is by Jonah Lehrer at Wired. He reports on a study that showed test-takers chewing gum scored higher than those who did it — it kept the chewers more alert. I thought this was particularly interesting because the only other similar research I had read was financed by the Wrigley Company, which didn’t inspire a great deal of confidence in its integrity.
Chewing Gum May Improve Test Scores reports on a new study that says chewing gum can improve test performance, but only for fifteen or twenty minutes after chewing stops. It says the gum should only be chewed prior to the test and will actually ultimately hurt test performance if it continues. This contradicts the previous study.
Does chewing gum help you concentrate? Maybe briefly. is by Dan Willingham.
Can chewing gum before a test improve score? is by Valerie Strauss at The Washington Post.
WHY THESE TESTS ARE BAD:
Race to Self Destruction: A History Lesson for Education Reformers is by Yong Zhao.
Michelle Rhee’s Cheating Scandal is by Dana Goldstein.
The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Test Scorer by Dan DiMaggio
The Test Generation is an article by Dana Goldstein that was just published in The American Prospect magazine.
Do Standardized Tests Reflect Student Learning in Schools? is by Patrick Ledesma.
Resistance to test-based school reform is growing is by Valerie Strauss at The Washington Post.
‘I am a bad teacher’ appeared in Valerie Strauss’ blog in The Washington Post.
High-stakes tests and cheating: An inevitable combination? is from The Hechinger Report.
Testing Insanity: Amount of Time on Testing is a fascinating chart by John T. Spencer.
Is the use of standardized tests improving education in America? is a good summary of research from Pro/Con.
If Gifted And Talented Programs Don’t Boost Scores, Should We Eliminate Them? comes from The Shanker Blog.
Why Test-Driven Accountability Is Grasping at Straws is by John Thompson
Standardized tests for everyone? In the Internet age, that’s the wrong answer. is from The Washington Post.
When an adult took standardized tests forced on kids is from Valerie Strauss’ blog at The Washington Post.
Remembering Test Scores and Learning about Regression toward the Mean is by Larry Cuban.
Standardized Testing Fails the Exam is by W. James Popham and appeared in Edutopia
Study: Students from high schools with improving ISTEP scores perform no better on ACT exams is from Indiana University. Here is Diane Ravitch’s commentary on it. Here are more of her thoughts.
Today’s Tests Seen as Bar to Better Assessment is from Education Week.
Massachusetts professors protest high-stakes standardized tests is from The Washington Post.
My discussion with Matt Barnum Part 1 is by Gary Rubinstein.
The Dark History of the Multiple-Choice Test is from Edutopia.
Why Standardized Tests Don’t Measure Educational Quality is by James Popham (it’s older, but great).
Games People Play in Modern School Reform is by Sam Chaltain.
SURVIVING THE POST-TEST BLUES
WHAT STUDENTS THINK OF THEM
Additional suggestions are welcome. Though many of these posts point to articles written by others, I’m sure I’ve missed some great ones that are out there. I’d love to revise this list and add them.
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You might also want to explore the 400 other “The Best…” lists I’ve compiled.