Time Out for Test Prep

brain on fireYou learn some interesting things sitting in the bleachers at a little league baseball field. While your children practice the fundamentals and intricacies of baseball, you get to commiserate with other parents about all kinds of things. This weekend, for example, a number of parents chatted about EOGs—the universal End of Grade tests administered in North Carolina. A common refrain that I heard was, “It seems like they just got done with their benchmark tests a few weeks ago.”

In fact, the benchmarks took place several months ago. But there’s probably an easy explanation for why they seemed so recent. Test prep. Gone are the days when a single yearly standardized test was all a student needed to worry about. And gone are the days when a student’s test prep consisted of a quick reminder about having plenty of sharpened number 2 pencils on hand and how to fill in answer bubbles cleanly and completely. Parents sitting around me noted one and two weeks of test prep before the EOGs.

We could, of course, debate whether test prep is valuable learning time. Or is it time wasted? But as a teacher, have you counted the number of days you’ve spent in a school year doing test prep instead of teaching? Sound off in the comments! We can’t wait to hear from you.

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