End-Of-Year Testing Comes Before End Of Year

From John Merrow:
Solving a Man-Made Problem

One of education’s dirty little secrets is that schools give what they call their ‘end of the year’ tests about six weeks before the end of school. The school year is only 5/6th of the way done, but it’s testing time, and everything stops.

Think about that for a moment, maybe put yourself in the shoes of a teacher or a student. If you’re a kid, the message is clear: the year is over! Time to kick back and relax. However, if you happen to be a conscientious teacher, you have to climb a big hill every morning and afternoon for the next five or six weeks, because you have to try to interest your students in what they know doesn’t matter.

Left unexplored is what’s being tested. Do these tests cover everything that the students are supposed to have learned, or merely 5/6ths of the material? If they cover everything, isn’t that unfair to those who are being judged by the results (students and, increasingly, their teachers)? If they cover just 5/6th of the course content, will that mean that many students will never get past, say, World War II in history?
More at the link.

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