A healthy testing culture is always desired, but often tricky to achieve.
Testing often feels like the bane of existence for educators, primarily due to the significance of standardized testing in today’s academic landscape.
Since test scores are linked to school performance and teacher evaluations, this can lead to high pressure and anxiety for all involved. Not only this, but many educators feel that if they don’t “teach to the test,” they are setting their students up for failure. This does not need to be the case.
Though many argue against it, standardized testing appears as though it will be around for the long haul, so developing a positive and healthy testing culture is crucial to students’ success and well-being. But how do you know if your school’s testing culture is conducive to student well-being and success after high school?
Here are three things you can do to help instill a health testing culture:
Assessments show students’ strengths, weaknesses, and areas of improvement. Is your school evaluating student performance on an individual level? Doing so allows educators to address performance gaps and improve student learning and outcomes per individual student.
Though it is crucial to align curriculum to the necessary common core standards, curriculum should do more than help students score well on a test. It should prepare them for their future beyond high school. Just because certain topics are not tested does not mean they are not important. Successful curriculum is designed around content standards that reflect what is most important. Evaluate your curriculum for relevancy and meaningful learning.
Educators and students already face so much pressure to succeed that the stress associated with testing adds fuel to the fire. An environment strives to maintain the mental, emotional, psychological, and physical health of both its students and teachers will see more success on all fronts than one that doesn’t. By creating a culture of caring, students and teachers can feel safe, welcomed, and understood at a place they come to almost every day, which can help lower stress and create a culture of understanding.