Columbus Schools Offer Test-Taking Help

Written by Patricia Hawke for

It seems like all we hear about these days is test scores, assessments, and how our students score as compared to those across the nation and the world. For some reason, no one ever seems satisfied with the hard work our students put into their studies each year. Sure, there are some slackers, some with legitimate family problems that distract them from school, or special ed. Situations. But for the most part, Columbus Schools’ kids work hard each and every day of the year to learn their lessons and do well on the tests. Here, in my opinion, lies the problem.
For a long time now, school districts and state boards of education have been pushed by national administration to continuously raise the standards that students must achieve in order to be considered successful and move to the next grade level. I am not suggesting, in any way, that we should not be challenging the students in the Columbus Schools to raise the bar for themselves and strive to give their best. However, with ever changing curriculum requirements that must match up with state or local assessments, it has become increasingly difficult for the students of Columbus Schools to learn everything they need to learn, and for the teachers in the Columbus Schools to teach everything they have to teach.
Do Columbus Schools Teach the Test?
Many Columbus Schools educators feel pressured to teach to the test. They do not feel like they have any flexibility in what they are teaching in their Columbus Schools’ classrooms. For example, say a 2nd grade teacher in the Columbus Schools must fit in dinosaurs, simple machines, basic astronomy, the human body, basic earth science and health during the school year. How can they possibly go in-depth in any of these areas? It doesn’t matter what the Columbus Schools’ students are interested in either, they must cram it all in before the test, lest they do poorly. How the kids do on the exams not only reflects on them, but on their teachers and Columbus Schools as a whole. No pressure there.
Due to all this pressure to excel on Columbus Schools’ assessments that may or may not be appropriate (that’s a whole other ball of wax), students are finding it extremely difficult to even make it through the test. The freeze up, they guess on their answers, some even break down in tears, unable to finish the test.
Maybe the Columbus Schools recognize and understand the need to not only give students in Columbus Schools the educations they deserve, but to also give them the skills they require in order to take the state tests with little to no test-anxiety. Through a special program, called Expanded Learning Opportunities (ELO) students can participate in a tutoring program designed to help students with the upcoming Ohio Academic Achievement Tests.  Columbus Schools’ leaders realize that they must conform to the state and national requirements and test their students each year, but they also realize the importance of helping those same students acquire the skills they need to take the test in the first place.