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“Teaching to the Test” Strategy and Its Dangers

What is teaching the test?

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Teaching the test is a concept used by teachers to prepare their students for an exam. However, different teachers utilize different techniques to achieve this goal. Despite the strategy that a teacher utilizes, teaching the test is an effective means of improving the grades of students by effectively preparing them for exams and increasing their confidence.

Why are teachers under pressure to increase the scores of their students?

Over time, the grades of students in the United States and around the world have been declining. Various factors have been linked to this trend. Despite the cause of the problem, it is the teachers who mainly get blamed for low grades from their students. Thus, teachers face pressure from parents, school boards and administration, the government, and any other stakeholder who might be interested in the grades of the students.

What strategies can teachers implement to enhance the grades of their students?

Teachers have different strategies that they can implement to enhance the performance of their students. First, teachers can employ the item teaching strategy where they specifically teach the students the items that will be contained in the exam. On the other hand, teachers can employ the curriculum teaching strategy where they teach various items contained in the curriculum. This strategy is effective in enhancing the cognitive development process of the students.

Can specific measures be put in place to detect the concept of item teaching?

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Several measures have been developed to detect the concept of item teaching. However, these measures have their strengths and weaknesses. It is thus impossible to achieve maximum success by using only one measure at a time. It is thus advised that several measures should be applied at any given time to compliment the weaknesses that might be present in any one of them.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of these measures?

The teacher self-report measure is effective in determining the teaching strategies that a teacher utilized in class. However, teachers can always lie about the strategies that they used. Pre-announced classroom observations might be effective. However, this strategy will diminish the trust between teachers and the administration. Score jumps might also be effective means of detecting item teaching. However, it is difficult to ascertain whether the change in scores is a result of good teaching strategies or item teaching.

What are the impacts of item teaching on students?

The overall goal of learning is to ensure that the students comprehend the curriculum and achieve the learning objectives. This is essential especially in enhancing their cognitive development and ensuring that they can find solutions to real-life challenges. However, item teaching only enables them to pass a test but deprives them of the knowledge, skills, and expertise they require in life due to its shallow nature. Thus, such students will not be competent enough in life.

What is the most appropriate method that can be used to detect item teaching?

No single method can be used to effectively detect item teaching. Various strategies have to be put in place to detect this vice in teaching.

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What moral and ethical practices should guide the teaching strategies that teachers use?

Teachers should be guided by the morals and standards of the teaching profession. Therefore, they should ensure that their teaching practices enable students to achieve the learning objectives. Teachers should also be honest, fair, and impartial. These morals and ethics are essential in enhancing the learning process.

Do you think that teachers are aware that the use of item teaching strategy is not an effective teaching tool?

Teachers are aware that item teaching is not an effective teaching strategy. However, given the pressure that they are facing, most of the teachers opt to utilize this strategy to achieve the short term goal of getting good grades.

What disciplinary actions should the teachers are found guilty of using the item based concept face?

Several penalties can be imposed on teachers who are found guilty of item teaching. Compulsory leave without pay can be an effective measure to punish such teachers. Consequently, such teachers can be demoted. This will greatly reduce the number of incidences of item teaching in schools.

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