Today the Times‘ Javier Hernandez had an excellent article, A Moo Moo Here, and Better Test Scores Later. The article’s key point:
Educators have long known that prior knowledge of a subject can significantly improve a child’s performance on tests. If parents have read medieval tales to their children every night, they are likely to glide through questions about King Arthur.
With this in mind, students from Harlem Success Academy visited a farm to get a leg up on New York State math and English exams.
I understand administrators’ goals. They’re right — without question, comfort with a subject improves test scores. This is true not only for the New York State exams but also for the SAT and even so-called intelligence tests like the ERB.
I hope the children also enjoyed the visit to the farm. When kindergarten children take field trips for test prep, I hope we as adults take pause. This is yet another symptom of our test-obsessed society. Hopefully in this case there was an upside–city children take a trip to the country–vs. the usual downside.