Almost daily I look at how we can best reach and teach students who are struggling in math. I find that more and more teachers are spending large amounts of time on tests that take too much classroom time. Certainly, assessment must be part of the process, but what kind of assessments? As technology becomes more available in the classroom will teachers abdicate their responsibility to assess to the technology? Does assessment have to be in the form of a test?
It is my firmly held belief that teachers teach and items like workbooks and technology only help to provide support, review, and practice. Learning anything comes at the hands of a skilled teacher, not a computer. Yes, that computer can have teaching “videos” or teaching applications, but that technology cannot see the light go on in a student’s eyes. Technology will not care if the student is struggling or if they “get it”, it will only move on to the next problem. Teachers who teach using a mastery-based approach will be constantly assessing the students. Short-cycle assessment that is done daily by an engaged and supported teacher can make a world of difference in a student’s knowledge.
Yes, we need tests, but at what intervals? At what cost to instruction time?
It has been argued in the past that teachers in schools have taught to the test. That statement may never have been truer as it will be with this year’s coming high-stakes tests.