“School Is Too Easy”

Interesting report in the Huffington Post’s Education section, “School Easy, Failing To Challenge Students, Survay Says”.

The analysis, by Ulrich Boser and Lindsay Rosenthal, found a disturbing disconnect between student engagement and test scores. Many students — 21 percent of 12th graders and 37 percent of fourth graders — reported that math classes were “too easy.” But only 40 percent of fourth graders and 35 percent of eighth graders were deemed “proficient” on the National Assessment for Educational Progress math test. Boser and Rosenthal explain this disconnect by pointing to gaps between lessons and the test questions. “It’s also possible that students do poorly on” the test “because they’re not challenged in school,” they wrote.

Even as many students struggle to score well on tests, many find their classroom experience to be insufficiently challenging. Who know just how many students are in both camps simultaneously?

“Our gifted programs are suffering … with the mainstreaming efforts, which help the lower students come up, but effectively bridle the learning of the gifted students,” (Vicki) Davis said. She said parents have told her they’ve moved kids out of test-driven schools “because the focus on tests is driving out learning.”One Georgia teacher interviewed for the article said that efforts to improve the output of the lowest-performing students directly and negatively impacted the high achievers.

The best independent schools — and there are many — can support students who struggle while also challenging students who are ahead of the curve.

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