Recently, I received an email from a nationally recognized test prep company, which opened with the following: “For many students, performance on the SAT exam determines whether or not their future is the one for which they've planned and prepared.” The mixture of loaded language (“determines” and “future”) clearly plays into the hopes and fears and anxiety created by the test-prep industry as well as the opacity of the college application/admissions process. Add to that dynamic the increased emphasis on high-stakes tests that followed the publication of A Nation At Risk in 1983, which launched a string of initiatives from the Improving America’s Schools Act to No Child Left Behind to the Common Core State Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards, and it becomes clear why the phrase teaching to the test pervades the education conversation. That phrase is full of negative connotations, mostly because it infers drill-and-kill test preparation at the expense of authentic, meaningful learning. But a professor of mine once told me, teaching to the test is not the problem; rather it is teaching to a bad test that is problematic. Start by designing a good test, and then teach in support of that test’s desired outcomes.
The data suggest the following: York's academic program is solidly preparing students for tests, such as the SAT and ACT. Dive deeper into this topic by clicking here for a detailed look at high-stakes testing and what York is doing to stay leading-edge.