Teaching to the test

Assessment whether it be traditional or authentic creates a different perspective in teaching to the test. In TA, teachers are discouraged from teaching to the test for it usually assesses a sample of students’ knowledge and understanding, and assumes that students’ performance on that sample.  It became the representative of their knowledge of all the relevant material and if teacher focuses on the sample to be tested during instruction, then good performance on that sample does not necessarily reflect knowledge of all the material.  So, teachers hide the test so that the sample is not known beforehauthenticand, and teachers are admonished not to teach to the test.

In AA, teachers are encouraged to teach to the test so that students will learn how to perform well on the tasks. During the process it is shown to them the models of good (and not so good) performance so that they would be able to see the task rubric ahead of time. There is no cheating in this case for there is no correct answer to copy but simply presenting what would be the possible good answer among the choices. By knowing what good performance looks like, and by knowing what specific characteristics make up good performance, students can better develop the skills and understanding necessary to perform well on these tasks.


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