The majority of parents worry about their children’s scores, worrying that if their child does not get straight A’s they will fail in life. This is the primary reason many choose to enroll in private elementary schools. However, the key to true success is a good education, and education is not, and cannot ever be, measured solely with test scores.
The Limitations Of Tests And Test Scores
“Teach to the test” is an approach to education that focuses on preparing students for standardized tests. Given the number of standardized tests today, it is somewhat understandable why some public and private schools lean toward this approach. However, this is not an excuse to emphasize teaching to the test in place of genuine deep learning.
The thing with standardized tests test only for the minimum standards that tend to focus on information rather than learning knowledge and skills. When the teacher’s and student’s mindset is simply passing the test, the focus turns to remembering information, even if temporarily, rather than actual learning. Students may get high scores in standardized tests but will likely forget the essential knowledge shortly. This is bad news for children in the long run.
Furthermore, standardized tests were made to quantify a student’s knowledge and skills and compare it with those of a national sample, so that, effectively, no child is left behind. This is, indeed, a sensible purpose and could provide an assessment on a child’s strengths and weaknesses. However, test score performance alone does not guarantee that a private elementary school provides quality education. More often than not, what is tested in a standardized test is not aligned with what is covered in textbooks and what is fundamentally taught in school (i.e., the skills that students retain).
There’s also the issue with students’ intellectual abilities. Students have varying forms of intelligence that cannot be accurately measured by tests. Focusing on tests to measure intelligence also puts a strain on the way students view education.
Measuring Quality Education
Gone are the days when quality schools apply a one-size-fits-all approach. Private elementary schools, especially, recognize that students have different abilities and needs. A better way to measure success, then, is to check how well the school meets the development needs of each student. The school should be able to nurture students’ talents and respond to their needs. This extends beyond academic development, which should include social and emotional development. These aspects are just as important in the holistic development of a child that will allow them to grow into well-rounded adults.
Valley School focuses on deep learning and holistic education rather than test scores.