Teaching to the Test

Katy Golden


Shepard, L., Hanaway, J., & Baker, E, ed.s. (2009). Standards, assessment, and accountability. Education policy white paper. National Aacdemy of Education, Washington, DC. http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED531138.pdf

I thought this article brought up a lot of great points because, being in the education world today, you can easily understand how tempting it is to teach based on the standardized tests your students are taking – in my case, those tests are a big part of my evaluation, so it’s important to me that they do well! However, when education policy makers are the ones deciding what’s on the test and how it’s formatted, it often makes it so that what’s being tested – and therefore what’s being taught to – is not useful knowledge nor does it involve 21st century skills, rather being rote question-and-answer trivia. This article discusses the idea of standards-based assessments, and how the accountability to standards creates pressure on teachers to “teach to a test.”

This article discusses the complications of having politically created standards, which can lead to either “overly full, encyclopedic standards” in the case of some states, and “vague, general statements” in others. The authors describe the growing movement to the creation of new standards that distinguish between performance standards and content standards, and recommend that educators be given a voice in determining standards. This was a relief to me to hear, because I’d love to hear more about educators being the ones to decide standards. In my old district, they were just starting to incorporate teachers in the development of district wide tests, and hopefully that trend will continue!

Common Core and New Adoption: Race to the Top

Shibrie Wilson

ET- New Trends
ET- Restructuring
ET-Standards-based Education
CA- Who Decides
CA-Common Cores Assessments

Cappiello, M. A. (2014). When Racing to the Top Slows Us Down- On Common Core. School Library Journal. Retrieved from http://www.slj.com/2014/10/opinion/on-common-core/when-racing-to-the-top-slows-us-down-on-common-core/

Summary: Mary Cappiello has had the opportunity to network with different persons from teachers to librarians all in different states and able to learn more about Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Common Core State Standards continues to be in the forefront of educational debates. Many have perception that supporting CCSS one supports standardized testing. Cappiello stated “being against them suggests a belief in a top-down government and/or a corporate takeover of education, plus a massive mandate for more testing.” Race to the Top (RttT) is a different implementation of educational curriculum. It seems as though Common Core State Standards is the problem its Race to the Top in which enforces excessive testing and specifically tracks achievement by numbers. Schools that have adopted Race to the Top funding are only focused on test scores of students and not the experience and their intellectual growth, everything is based around numbers. Not only are students under pressure with RttT but teachers as well because their performance is dependent on test scores. 

Reflection: I have heard more negative things associated with Common Core State Standards than positive. Now I see that not only is CCSS becoming an issue but Race to the Top. Numbers, numbers, numbers that seems be all legislators care about. Maybe it is because they are trying to compete with other students globally but I am sure there is another way to go about this. I do not believe standardized test should solely determine a students performance throughout their educational career. Curriculums such ad these presented are taking the joy out of being an educator. 

Applying Universal Design to Information Literacy Teaching Students Who Learn Differently at Landmark College

Jones, Erik


Chodock, T., & Dolinger, E. (2009). Applying Universal Design to Information Literacy: Teaching Students Who Learn Differently at Landmark College. Reference & User Services Quarterly, 49(1), 24-32. Retrieved from: https://journals.ala.org/rusq 

This particular article discusses the various learning disabilities that prevent students from learning at the same rate or in the same way as other students. Primarily concerned with children who have ADD or ADHD, the article focuses on adjusting the ACRL standards to be more inclusive for diverse learners. Applying their Universal Design for Information Literacy to the lesson plans and learning activities to the classroom would allow students with learning disabilities and those without to get more one on one time with the instructor, a quieter place to study, or even more time on tests or homework to better accommodate their needs.


I thought this article was personally relevant as I was branded with ADHD in elementary school and shuffled off into a special ed classroom equipped with teachers who had no idea how to help kids who learned differently, were a little more energetic than other students, had issues at home that affected their learning, or were simply bored and wanted something else to do. The Universal Design for Information Literacy I feel is a step in the right direction to help students like me who were wrongfully labeled or legitimately have learning disabilities that require them to have more time on tests and homework or who need more time with the instructor to understand and perform at the same level as other students.

A review of: Statistics About California School Libraries

A review of: Statistics About California School Libraries
This is the annual data collection of trends pertaining to California School Libraries and the level of library resources made available to students from year to year.
This information isn’t derived from an article, but from the source that directly collected the information.  I reviewed quantitative data that’s been collected for the California Department of Education reflecting the 2013/2014 School Year to examine the availability and types of services offered to California students in grades K-High School.
According to the California Department of Education, in 2013-14, 4,273 California schools completed the survey representing 43 percent of schools (CDE). The CDE report shares, “The following statistical snapshot is based on these data as well as data collected by the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS) (CDE)”.
While the intentions of what California will do with this information is unclear, it is encouraging to learn library surveys have gone out to schools across the state.  Findings shared by the California Department of Education show that, California continues to rank at the bottom of professional library staffing numbers. In 2012, the California ratio was 1:7,374 (2011-12 CBEDS Report) and in 2014-15 the ratio dropped to 1:7,187(CDE). Considering the size professional staffed deficit, I’m intrigued and curious as to why California ranks so low in areas of professional librarian support systems. What first comes to mind is the size of California. According to the California Department of Education Fingertips Facts on Education, there are 6,235,520 students in grades K-12th in the state.  Student to educator ratios in general are often compromised, and teacher librarians as important and valued as they may be, are low on the list of improvements for quality the state desires. Another factor that might influence these low rankings can come from the specific requirements Teacher Librarian Service Credential holders are required to have. These requires are in addition to the standard Teaching Credentials these educators must have. In many instances the pay for teacher librarians offers little compensation for amount of extra education and training required to obtain this specialized credential.
Another area of interest in this report, is the acknowledgement of print material as well as web-based. The need for print material is connected to the Common Core State Standards. This condition, validates the significance of having a credentialed teacher librarian as part of the team to increase the quality of student educational experience. 
Since 2011, a steady decline of teacher librarians work in California Public Schools. In my research experience, this decline correlates with state budget cuts. The question isn’t if California can increase the quality of their libraries for students, but when. Many new grants are becoming available within the state to improve California public school libraries.
Statistics About California School Libraries
This is the annual data collection of trends pertaining to California School Libraries and the level of library  resources made available to students from year to year.
Thursday, October 8, 2015
 Questions:   Curriculum Frameworks and Instructional Resources Division | CFIRD@cde.ca.gov | 916-319-0881
Last Reviewed: Thursday, October 8, 2015

What is inquiry-guided learning?

Young, Alice

ET-Standards-based Education

What is inquiry-guided learning?
Lee, V. S. (2012). What is inquiry-guided learning?. New Directions For Teaching & Learning, 2012(129), 5-14.

Inquiry-guided learning has widespread appeal for a variety of institutions of higher education throughout the world. As a suite of teaching strategies that defies a simple prescription for practice, inquiry-guided learning challenges practitioners to develop conceptual frameworks that describe inquiry as a site of student learning rather than of traditional scholarship.

In this article, the author displays how inquiry-guided learning is beneficial and as a subset of active learning. Inquiry-Guided learning promotes the acquisition of new knowledge, abilities, and attitudes through students independent investigation of questions, problems, and issues. The author indicates this teaching strategy requires faculty members to reimagine their discipline as a framework for learning rather than a framework of scholarship. That it is advantageous for institution to bridge their teaching and research missions and enhance the intellectual culture of their campuses. Overall, the idea provides an optimistic intake towards a desirable student learning outcome.

Teach Less, Learn More

Keith, E.K.

ET-Standards-based Education
ET-Constructivism and Behaviorism

Fogarty, R. &. (2010). The Singapore vision: teach less, learn more. In Bellanca, J. & Brandt, R. (Ed.), 21st Century Skills: Rethinking How Students Learn (pp. 97-115). Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.

 This chapter of 21st Century Skills: Rethinking How Students Learn describes Singapore’s educational framework to move its country’s teachers and students into 21st century education. It describes the four interrelated components of this shift: 1) a vision for the nation, 2) a vision for education, 3) a vision to implement school change, and 4) a vision for collaboration through professional learning communities that will create the changes in each school.

This chapter will be interesting to anyone who views collaboration as a means of integrating 21st century skills and information literacy into curriculum across subject areas. It especially highlights collaboration among teachers, who in turn create collaborative opportunities for student learning. The use of mobile technology in the classroom is also discussed, specifically that it is not students, but schools that drag their feet in incorporating new technology tools for instruction.