Teaching goes beyond standardized tests
Published 5:00 am Wednesday, April 27, 2016
There are many Spring traditions that have become part of the cultural fabric of our schools. Spring trips, music performances, graduation, scholarship ceremonies, baccalaureates, and proms are all annual milestones in the education cycle.
In addition to these activities, standardized testing has also become one of spring’s many education rituals. It is through these standardized tests that the data is collected by which our schools will be judged.
The best educators look forward to these assessments, confident that it will demonstrate the progress that their students have made during the year in certain academic areas.
However, they also realize that they are charged with much more than teaching just reading and math. They teach our children to express their individuality while conforming to social norms. They teach tolerance and respect for those who are different. Educators are expected to teach our students how to eat healthy and exercise.
They teach sportsmanship and character. They teach students how to be humble winners and gracious losers. They model for students how to celebrate appropriately. Unfortunately, they sometimes have to teach students how to grieve.
Educators also realize that it is in the school setting where kids will develop the situational habits and skills that will guide their behavior in special circumstances for the rest of their life.
It is in the schools that students learn how to properly honor Veterans on Veteran’s Day, how to conduct themselves and participate during the Pledge of Allegiance or National Anthem, and why we have Thanksgiving traditions.
To be sure, we welcome the opportunity to be measured through standardized assessments. But we also know that the results of these assessments fall far short of truly characterizing all of the learning that occurs under the leadership of the wonderful men and women who have dedicated their lives to helping students grow through education.
Dr. Kenneth Varner, Brewton City Schools Superintendent