His point is interesting and valid, and I see parallels with what is happening in my clinical practice classroom. This is the first year in a long time that my cooperating teacher has not had to prepare his students for the CST test. Over the years, he and the other Earth Science teachers have developed a pacing guide and curriculum that covers a lot of material, in the hopes that the students will be prepared to regurgitate many facts about the Earth and our solar system on the Spring test. Generally the class goes very fast and invariably many students get left behind and do not develop the depth that goes into understanding how global systems are interlinked and what their impact on our lives are.
We were well on the same path this semester, plowing through a lot of content and then we suddenly realized that there is no specific requirement to get through everything in a short amount of time. There’s no giant test at the end that we need to be prepared for. So we decided to slow down and go more in depth with a few topics that we think are key. We’re trying to make sure that the students really learn in a way that will hopefully stick with them, and that might have more resonance in their future lives. We’re creating other types of assessments than just the multiple choice tests and quizzes provided by the textbook software. We’re trying to work more closely with the students who are lagging behind and having trouble understanding. Hopefully this freedom from testing will work positively for the students, I think it already is.