Facebook
Edutopia on Facebook
Twitter
Edutopia on Twitter
Google+
Edutopia on Google+
Pinterest
Edutopia on Pinterest Follow Me on Pinterest
WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Statewide Influence: Teaching to the Test Can Work

An innovative program improves achievement overall.
By Edutopia
Edutopia Team
Related Tags: Assessment,All Grades

When teachers in the Carroll County Public Schools in Maryland initiated a hands-on science curriculum more than ten years ago, it was the start of a revolution.

The curriculum was designed to encourage students to develop useful scientific skills, such as the ability to observe, measure accurately, and use data to support conclusions. It attracted widespread attention and is now used to teach more than 700,000 students nationwide. It also sparked changes in the way the state measures science achievement -- the Maryland Science Performance Assessment Program (MSPAP), adopted in 1993, incorporates the kinds of hands-on tasks that Carroll County pioneered.

MSPAP is a model of how state assessments can better match classroom activities and the skills that students need to master. "Teaching to the test can be a good thing when the test is valid and reflects your goals in the classroom," says Suzanne Peters, a science teacher.

The district is also working to make sure that all of its 25,000 students, regardless of their abilities and backgrounds, can meet standards that require them to analyze and think independently.

Carroll County teachers incorporated animation and sound into problems like those encountered on the MSPAP to produce a CD-ROM used for independent practice. Recent results show that Carroll County students consistently rank among the highest in the state on the MSPAP, despite attending one of Maryland's lower-income districts.

Comments Sign in or register to postSubscribe to comments via RSS

Discussion Revolutionizing Today’s Education Systems

Last comment 1 week 3 days ago in Education Trends

blog Digital Storytelling and Authentic Assessments

Last comment 2 weeks 3 days ago in Literacy

blog A New Era for Student Assessment

Last comment 1 month 5 days ago in Performance Assessment

Discussion Completion Grading for Homework

Last comment 1 month 6 days ago in Assessment

Discussion Teachers Throwing Out Grades

Last comment 1 month 6 days ago in Assessment

Sign in and Join the Discussion! Not a member? Register to join the discussion.