Bonuses & Test Scores

As times change, so does education. More and more education moves more towards test scores as a gauge in determining its value. The more schools move towards test scores, it seems the more they move away from an emphasis on higher level thinking skills. Some educators will justify that testing has shifted towards higher level thinking skills, therefore it is appropriate to move curriculum towards focusing on improving students testing scores.

Those educators who have bought into a testing model will attempt to convince others that their shifts in curriculum isn't to "truly" teach to the test. The idea of adjusting curriculum towards improvements in language arts and math scores is a way to improve the skills of students. This is never more so true then those administrators who are shifting their curriculums away from a more well rounded education into the primary focus in the areas of language arts and math test scores. Administrators attempting to present that the world is based around testing is a way to justify their decisions. It might be argued by them that entrance into college requires testing, as does certain occupations, including the military, This rationalization seems to be a way to justify their focus on teaching to the test (though they will never call it this).

So why this shift in the curriculum? Perhaps the reasoning isn't quite as noble as what appears to be the case. What if administrators' contracts have bonuses that are tied into test scores? Is the movement more about reaching those goals to attain financial gains? And do some go along with this idea as a way to avoid conflict? Or perhaps fear of rocking the boat?

And from all of this, what happens to students? Are they more invested in their own learning or feel more disengaged? I fear we are moving further and further away from teaching higher level thinking skills and more towards teaching students to become good test takers.

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