No one likes to be lied to. The truth, in its rarest form, does hurt; yet, thorough examination must always be associated with discovering the purest form of truth. In the recent unveiling of the new school grading standards required for Louisiana students, the state’s new goal adds more pressure upon students and teachers to work toward an average score of “mastery” and “advanced” on standardized tests by 2025. As a teacher, I believe this mark can be accomplished; however, the current curriculum, which is infused with plenty of activities for all learning styles may not help us reach this new demand.
For example, many curriculums instruct teachers to train students to “skim and scan” or “get the gist” of a certain passage. In fact, these “activity-based” curriculums, which are designed to make learning fun, are infused with “excerpts” of major works rather than the whole piece of literature. This poses as a threat for the 2025 “mastery” and “advanced” goals the state yearns for because those curriculums do not necessarily focus on the “follow through.” My main concern is for those schools that serve the majority of students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.
According to the state’s website, East Baton Rouge Parish public schools serve over 80 percent of students who fall under the aforementioned category. How will the majority of students reach that mark if they are coming from an unstructured background but are constantly drilled with the fast-paced “skimming and scanning” in classrooms constantly? This does not match. Standardized tests can last for up to three hours, but if students are taught mainly from “scripted activity,” “kinesthetic,” and “collaborative”-based curriculums rather than a thorough curriculum that fits the fundamental needs of the individual student, then this new goal may not be obtained by 2025. And that’s the truth.