Today the New York Times reported on the plight of New York City Schools’ attempts to move away from “teaching to the test” in spite of “baked-in” and deeply entrenched practices. Times reporter Al Baker reported on P.S. 126 in Queens, and all the work students and teachers there are doing to prepare for the SAT.

It seems that most of the teachers and students at P.S. 126 – and all around the country, for that matter – want to move away from lessons focused solely on test prep. As Baker reports in his article for the New York Times, even the Chancellor of New York City’s schools Carmen Fariña wants to find an alternative.

“We’re going to do all we can to roll that back to focus on the best quality teaching as opposed to test prep.” said Fariña, according to the article. 
But when teaching to the test is so deeply enmeshed in school policy and teachers’ lessons, returning to lessons that focus on understanding and mastery of material – rather than mastery over a standardized test – can be difficult, as the plight of teachers at P.S. 126 know all too well.
At Quick Key, we build tools to help teachers teach creatively, with engaging lessons custom-made for individual students and classes, by master teachers who know their craft. Technology can help teachers back away from the abyss of teaching to the test, by providing them with the tools for frequent formative assessment, a technique that allows project-based lessons to be benchmarked against state and national standards on a daily basis. Frequent formative assessment lets teachers teach the subject matter and at the same time ensure their students are prepared for the next big standardized test. 
Frequent formative assessment isn’t a silver bullet, and neither are technologies like Quick Key. But they are powerful tools in teachers’ kits. Provided, of course, teachers know how to use the pedagogical tools and technologies to their best advantage.
Questions or comments? Please leave them here!
Isaac D. Van Wesep
CEO Quick Key & Design by Educators, Inc.