Monday, August 26, 2013

Sailing Over the Edge

One of the articles I read recently was Sailing Over the Edge; Navigating the Uncharted Waters of a World Gone Flat by Kylene Beers.  I highly recommend that you take the time to read it!

One of my favorite quotes from this article was:
"High-stakes tests and packaged learning have created a generation of students who equate learning with finishing, and achievement with a decent grade.  Testing does not improve learning; better teaching does."


I agree wholeheartedly.  However, so many times I have heard teachers and administrators say, "You need to know this because it will be on the test."  I have been guilty of the same thing!  The pressure that was felt by the adults was passed on to the students.  No wonder they equate learning to a test!! 

What are we doing to children? and teachers?  How can we shift the emphasis from the test to the learning?  How does our language need to change?  How can we foster creativity and prepare children for the test?  Will Common Core State Standards help?

We will have to work on the answers together.

I also relate to her discussion of the many complex skills that students will need to navigate the future.  We will be responsible for teaching these complex skills.

To sail over the edge will require us to leave our comfort zone.  To tackle new problems and not be afraid.  To present material and grade students in a different way.  To change our belief system.

It is an exciting time. It is an uncomfortable time.  


  1. I fear that I will drown in data this year. There are many things I'd like to say, but Im guarding my words.
    Thanks for writing this post!

  2. Such a great post, Sandy! Kylene's thoughts on assessing are sadly true. I am glad you posted this. Assessments can give us valuable information, if we use it to drive our instruction and if we don't assess so often that we don't have time to teach! Thanks for your thoughts on this!
    Conversations in Literacy

    1. You are so right Lori! We have to strive for balance.

  3. I'm so glad that I don't have to deal with a bunch of state testing in my grade level. I'm sure it would make me cringe.
    ❀ Tammy
    Forever in First