Wednesday, March 30, 2016

3 Things Wrong with Test Pep Rallies

In 2011, I made clear my concerns with "Test Pep Rallies" with my blog post "Test Pep Rallies: Good Practice or Waste of Time?" I still feel that such practices are more harmful than useful. As in my earlier post, I still believe that:

  • Test Pep Rallies potentially harm students and learning. It's one thing to encourage a student to do his or her best; it's another to place emphasis on performance levels, where self-worth might be wrongly tied to test results. In my thinking, Test Pep Rallies have too much potential for making state test results too important, especially if held for the purpose of promoting test performance. Encourage students to always do their best, not just when testing season comes along.
  • Test Pep Rallies reinforce the "Culture of Test Prep" in schools rather than worthwhile learning. Very little worthwhile learning takes place in schools where test prep is the goal for everything the school does.Its one thing to use data in decision-making; its quite another to use test results to determine everything that happens. Test Pep Rallies are about Test Prep, not about celebrating accomplishment. They're shortsighted practices for the short term that has not lasting impact on anything.
  • Test Pep Rallies are a waste of time. Why do we even want to elevate a standardized test to such a high level? Students could be celebrating real learning and accomplishments instead of focusing on a test no one will pay attention to five or ten years in the future.
In the season of testing, it is so important for administrators to keep testing in perspective. Elevating standardized testing through Test Pep Rallies places too much emphasis on something that already consumes too much of our instructional time. 

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