Engaging Students: The Next Level of Working on the Work and founder of the Schlechty Center, a nonprofit organization focused on school transformation. Schlechty's answer was a resounding yes. He said he knows of no place where students are participating in engaging work and not performing better on standardized tests. While Schlechty asserts that standardization in general is an inhibiting factor in education and should be reconsidered, the risk for schools, he said, is not in designing authentic learning environments for students... it's in NOT doing so! He explained that the type of instructional environment that is adequate to ensure students perform on standardized tests is not the same type of environment that will inspire the development of the skills, attitudes, and habits of mind that are required for the 21st century workforce. Furthermore, learning environments dominated by direct instructional approaches and rote memorization are only partially successful in preparing students for standardized tests since these models don't engage many students in school work at all. While traditional instructional methods can be valuable within a larger, student-centered instructional design, they simply aren't enough.
But what about the test?
Summers & Dickinson, 2012).
While the best reasons for creating authentic learning environments for students have nothing to do with standardized testing, standardized testing should not be used as a reason to avoid it.
- Schlechty, P. (2011). Engaging Students: The Next Level of Working on the Work, Wiley, John & Sons, Inc.
- Summers, E., & Dickinson, G. (2012). A longitudinal investigation of project-based instruction and student achievement in high school social studies, Interdisciplinary Journal of Problem-based Learning, 6(1), 82-103.