The debate between Teach-to-the-test and teaching non-tested subjects is as old as education itself. In an ideal world, every student would be taught a subject so well that they would pass the test the next time they take it. However, this is unlikely to happen in the real world. In fact, it is far more likely that a teacher will spend a significant portion of their class time teaching to the test, rather than teaching for real-world skills and knowledge.
Teaching to the test can also be perceived as “teaching to the test” if a student is able to answer a test question only if they know the material well. This practice may be interpreted as a form of teaching to the test but is not as common as many parents believe. There are two main types of test preparation: curriculum teaching and item teaching. Curriculum teaching focuses on teaching students the full body of knowledge represented by a test question, while item teaching involves using clone or similar test items to help students gain practice.
When compared to a non-tested subject, teaching to the test may actually be worse for students. It can make a school look half a year better than its peers. Moreover, by focusing too much time on test preparation, students may not be learning the content they need to know. Moreover, teaching to the test can misdirect funds that are otherwise allocated to teaching non-tested subjects.
A third type of testing is one that is often used to assess students’ abilities. In these cases, the teacher may already know the test questions that will be on the test. This practice is also considered cheating. When the teacher knows what will appear on the test, she can easily predict what the test questions will be like, which could lead to the teacher teaching students to the test rather than the other way around.
In addition, a graduate’s graduation exam is objective and subjective. This means that the stakes are high, so the teacher must prepare the student for it. Moreover, the test questions themselves do not represent a student’s knowledge of broader subjects. Moreover, the test questions are usually trivial facts, such as a question about Jupiter. A teacher should not force students to study subjects that they are unfamiliar with.
In addition to the negative effects of test-based teaching, a narrow curriculum may also lead to disengagement and truancy in students. This is especially problematic in schools that serve at-risk students. In addition, teaching to the test results may skew the test interpretation. Ultimately, it may lead to a reduction in the quality of education and may cause more students to drop out.
One method of teaching to the test is to give students a sample of standardized tests. A test consisting of 100 multiple choice questions in a particular subject area is given to students three times a year. This means that 94% of the state’s high school students took the test and passed it. However, because the State Department is the one that sets the exams, schools can manipulate the passing scores and present an incomplete picture of the state of education.