Think Outside the Bubble

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By Wayne Russell

Texas state assessment results are in!  After a solid three months of testing and patiently waiting, the last batch of results were released this past week.

In the words of a Texas Education Agency (TEA) spokesperson, “I think those numbers are very sobering." She was specifically referring to 9th grade student performance on the new End-of-Course exams.

When 9th grade scores were judged against the state’s final performance standards, which will be in effect in 2016, the passing rate in biology was a "sobering" 41 percent.  In English writing, a disappointing 34 percent!

The following statement from state Republican Mike Villarreal captures my feelings after looking at the results.  “We need to tone down the obsession with test scores and test preparation. It's hard to know if a low score is the result of a student having a bad day or if a high score is the result of a teacher putting aside enriching lessons and just teaching to the test.”  I have always believed that strong engaging lessons will result in extremely high scores.  We may want to offer our students a test-taking strategy such as eliminating wrong answers, but if our whole school year or spring semester is consumed with test prep, we set our students back in life.

How can we connect these sobering results with global education?

If children are going to survive and thrive in a global workforce, they will need to navigate many new and different problems. To successfully master their global world, they will need to be able to think through these problems, not merely choose A, B, C, or D.  Global citizens will not be able to merely pull answers from their knowledge bank to answer simple questions like, "What is the smallest unit of life?"  They will need to be able to analyze problems, and determine how to creatively apply what they know to the novel situation.

Let's decide to raise and educate our children to think outside the bubble.

What are you wondering now?

For practical ideas on developing citizens who can think, CLICK HERE.