Beyond test ‘snapshot’, other factors key to local student learning

The region’s schools recently received the results of the latest school performance tests, with a predictable mixed bag of scores. Some schools scored very well in the latest tests, others not so much.

The tests are, quite accurately, characterized as a “snapshot” of student and school performance.

There is quite a variance in how much credence is associated with the performance tests and this is the final year the state is using the performance test system. The new system is meant to provide a broader insight into student and school performance.

We can accept that the tests are something of an evaluation tool of progress by a student. But frankly, we can’t imagine there is a system providing a full-proof profile of a school or student performance.

For that reason, “teaching to the test” is of some concern to us, especially given that there is a broad variance in how well students do at testing.

We don’t mind benchmarks, but it’s more important that parents and teachers together get involved and use other measures to broaden the picture of a child’s learning development.

It’s vital that parents getting involved in homework with elementary students and have a working relationship with teachers. When there is a parent-teacher conference, there should be full attendance from parents. We doubt there is in most cases.

Ultimately, there is an eye test on learning that goes on in every classroom.

It’s based on teacher interaction with students and instruction content that is based on, hopefully, a traditional portfolio of reading, writing, arithmetic information.

A collaborative effort by administrators, teachers and parents who believe in those principles is the best possible recipe for the education of the region’s children.


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