Increased Test Scores

Fact: standardized testing only tests 1/7 of the whole child.

Fact: standardized testing misses out on the other 6/7 of the child.

Fact: teachers are getting judged based on their student’s ability to improve their test scores.

Fact: standardized testing is here and it isn’t going away any time soon.

This blog is not about whether you agree or disagree about standardized testing.  This is about the fact that standardized testing is here and we have to deal with it until it goes away.  My question is how are you going to attack this problem of needing increased test scores to validate your ability to teach?  What are you going to do to get your students to the next level of testing growth?

Option A is the ground and pound. You teach the kids what will show up on that test.  Every day you pound it into them how to narrow answers down until you get down to the two that makes the most sense.  You teach them that always, never, and sometimes are key words to pay attention to. You have them take a sample test every month so they can really understand and prepare for the test. You make their year’s goal to improve that test score.  If your evaluations are tied to this and money is the carrot that is dangled in front of your face this is what you may choose.  I don’t blame you one bit. Your class will be boring and the students will be extrinsically motivated and forget everything they learned, but I get it.  They set the rules you just play the game.

What if there was a better way that didn’t involve being tedious and boring.  What if there was a simple way to raise test scores that involved no more paperwork for the teacher? No extra assignments for the students to do at home? You wouldn’t have to threaten, cajole, force, push or prod a student to do more work.  All you would have to do is have your students become physically active.

Option B. We all prioritize physical activity and physical literacy as the number one positive change we can make for students.  Let me define all please. Students, teachers, administrators, board members, nurses, custodians, in short any stake holder.  Every stake holder has to share the vision that physical exercise is necessary to student success.  What does physical exercise do? “In one study, for example, nearly 2,000 California schoolchildren who were outside a “healthy fitness zone” — a 12-year-old who took longer than 12 minutes to run a mile would be outside that zone — scored lower on state standardized tests than those who were more fit.” (Adams 2013) That is one example of what research showing exercise alone can increase test scores.

Here is another example. “After adjustment, aerobically fit students had greater odds of passing the NeSA math and reading tests compared with aerobically unfit students regardless of whether the students received free/reduced lunch.” (Rauner 2014) This study shows that socio economic status can be ruled out as the only factor in determining test scores. Physical activity and literacy can make a positive difference! The research goes on and on.  “Being more active, says Singh, may improve blood flow to the brain, which provides more oxygen to cells involved in learning and attention.” (Park 2014) More blood flowing to the brain sounds great! I will take that please.

The why is pretty simple.  “When done regularly, moderate- and vigorous-intensity physical activity strengthens your heart muscle. This improves your heart’s ability to pump blood to your lungs and throughout your body. As a result, more blood flows to your muscles, and oxygen levels in your blood rise.  Capillaries, your body’s tiny blood vessels, also widen. This allows them to deliver more oxygen to your body and carry away waste products.” (NIH 2011) The widened blood vessels combined with a stronger heart allow more oxygen to be available for use in the body.  The more oxygen available the better!

A lowered oxygen level has multiple negative effects.  “It can have a harmful affect on brain function and physical ability. Attention span and concentration may be reduced. Memory and mood can be affected. Abstract reasoning and problem solving skills can be impaired.” (COPD 2009) We want the benefits of increase blood flow.

We can increase student test scores be increasing their physical activity.  This week we will get some ideas of how to increase student’s physical activity in the classroom, the physical education class, and at home.

Q1: How much does your school value physical activity? How can you tell? #slowchatpe

Q2: How do you get them to increase the amount of physically activity in ur class? #slowchatpe

Q3: What can you do to help classroom teachers increase physical activity in the classroom? #slowchatpe

Q4: How do we encourage our students to share our vision of the importance of physical activity at home? #slowchatpe

Q5: What can we do to get community support for physical activity and physical literacy? #slowchatpe


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