Teaching-to-the-test hurts a student in special ed “She is crying for our help”

HSTdoesnothelpThis story from an educator about how narrowing a curriculum to focus on testing subjects does not improve test scores and makes students feel worse about school, not better.

I am an ESL teacher at the elementary level. I worked with a student from 1st grade through 5th grade who was also a special education student. We worked hard together to get her as high as we could before middle school. Now she is in 6th grade at the middle school.

I got a call from the counselor saying that she was not doing well in school, getting in trouble, not eating, and suicidal. I asked to look at her schedule and saw it consisted of nothing but core and remedial classes with double doses of math and reading.

These are no electives in her schedule and after school she has homework club. This is common practice for those who haven’t passed the state test. This discriminates as it denies our most vulnerable populations to the activities that would maintain their interest in school. According to the ODE, she has about a 1% chance of passing the Language Arts Smarter Balanced test in 8th grade. This is nothing less than child abuse. She is crying for our help.

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