Teaching the Test

The traditional ways of education have in effect made the world, more of a copy and paste than a world that entertains logic. Better still, instructors have always found a way of hiding in the education style for their purposeful gains. Theoretically, the importance of applying thinking in education goes without mentioning. But the vast majority of the school systems have entertained the traditional means, (that is reading, reciting, writing, and drawing) over information sharing and thinking in education. Teaching the test is the usual mechanism where tutors train their students towards attaining a certain grade in the class in a given test. On the other hand, thinking refers to a method of intelligent learning which employs and rewards the mind in a much fashionable manner (Dewey). It promotes better judgment, retains fresh experience and generates new ideas in the minds of scholars. For these grounds, this essay seeks to build up on the arguments for the adoption of this teaching methodology against those of teaching to the test.

Teaching the test ensures that students’ achievements are measured objectively. According to Richard Phelps, standardized tests are reliable and very objective measures of student achievement. Without the application of these standardized tests, it would be very difficult to prove how far a student can grasp classroom concepts and to rank them can be highly impractical. He mentions four primary benefits of standardized test which are: information, motivation, organizational clarity and goodwill. That the application of say multiple choice questions would be very much appropriate when a machine is applied and such does not attract any human subjectivity.

Secondly, teaching the test is a sure way of giving students an inclusive and a non-discriminatory test which is equivalent to all students. Civil rights activists have in recent years come out boldly from what they call discrimination in the education system. They refer to the current propositions of offering the alternate test to minorities or exempting children with disability as an unfair approach. According to former Washington DC schools –the truth is arguing against testing for kids with disabilities are discriminatory. She believes that best assessments originate from better instructions and separating them creates two unequal platforms or systems. These systems have in one, accountability and the other none of it.

Increased testing does not necessarily compel teachers to encourage “drill n kill” rote learning. According Yeh (14) a study revealed that teachers from four Minnesota districts believed that state mandated testing is positive, and 85 percent of the teachers showed a statewide exit exam support. Within this group (teachers and administrators) felt that the impact of state tests on the curriculum was appropriate when focusing on basic skills at eighth grade and critical thinking skills. They also believed that a properly aligned, well-structured testing system can avoid excessive narrowing of the curriculum (Yeh 14).

Teaching the test is replacing proper learning techniques which evoke reasoning with “drill n kill” rote. According to Dewey, a student presents a problem in class but it is his problem to meet the peculiar conditions set by their teacher. It becomes so hard for them to focus on improving themselves rather they are bent on handling the problems brought by their teachers. His troubles develop into what one will do in satisfying their instructor’s demands, in recitation, examination and in external posture. They study but unconsciously to themselves objects of study are the conventions and standards of the school system which narrows their reasoning capacities into meeting the principles (Dewey).

Teaching the test is narrowing the curriculum substantially. Curriculum here is referring to knowledge, skills and habits of thought. It needed to be based solidly on informal logic, formal logic, educational psychology, developmental psychology and philosophy but this was not the case (Lipman 5). The lack of application of these methods limits the generation ideas from students within the American education system. The generation of ideas arouses suggestions which can be passed on to other entities based on their appropriateness. Therefore, thoughts are believed to be creative. In typical classroom thinking, students are removed from this form of curriculum into thinking what their teacher wants. It is also important to note that, these ideas cannot be conveyed from one being to another. N doing so, it becomes a fact and not an idea. But what happens when the students are made to think that the teacher’s way of reasoning is the basic way and manner expected of their conduct?  Ideas fail to germinate, and innovations do reduce among students and in the end only those who had a passion for such subjects in say grade 8 go for it (Dewey).

According to Dewey, the generation of ideas is in itself a generation of the solution to a problem. They can organize and furthermore recollections, observation, and experiments. Opponents to teaching the test are against the traditional form of education which constitutes much pouring of information and absorption like a sponge and the drilling in of material. Thinking relates to the operationalization of thoughts into practice before solving a situation. In other words, mere thoughts are just thoughts. It is the process of putting the ideas into use that determines the applicability of the thought. In this sense, it is vital to indicate that for any idea to be put into use favorable conditions should be put in place by the school administrators so as to attain the desired maturation of an idea from a thoughtful student. (Dewey).


More often than not the misconceptions regarding thinking in education have eluded its originally desired state of results. Other than the use of masculine activity in a traditional teacher-student relationship, as the best probable method of erudition, there is a need to incorporate thinking in education. Traditionally teachers involved their students in curriculum activities which they thought was holistic. But the methods (reading, writing, reciting and drawing) did not yield much without incorporating thought. The application of thinking has in itself led to the generation of the ideas in students, and these ideas seem to bring about solutions to several problems in a student’s life. Since traditionally teaching the test seems to yield better grades while at the same time eliminating discrimination, instructors are urged to embrace thinking in their school curricula because it’s the beginning of experience, ideas and solutions to given cognitive issues.

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