Teaching From the Test
Four-plus years into the NCLB era, some teachers are adopting a new attitude toward standardized tests: If you can't beat ’em, may as well use ’em. Educators in Bristol, Connecticut, for example, attribute the recent turnaround of two high-needs schools to a systematic approach of analyzing and acting on test-score results. For the past few years, teachers and administrators in the district have gathered in strategic teams to parse student-performance data and tailor instruction to address the trend lines. The process did not come naturally, however. “Education is not a culture of collaboration,” notes Bristol Superintendent Michael Wasta. “It’s a culture of isolation. ‘Give me my kids, close the door and let me do my thing.’” But there’ll probably be less door-closing now: The district’s method has been adopted as a statewide model.