Roy Turrentine, a teacher who frequently comments on the blog, wrote this commentary on how testing warps teaching:

“When I first started teaching, I would occasionally get off the subject for days. One geometry problem sidelined us for three days. Children would offer solutions and I would publicly follow their logic until it obviously failed, then we would take another suggestion.

“It has been years since I had this experience. A friend who taught in a neighboring county shared the same experience. One day we were talking and realized when this stopped happening. It was with the group of children who had gone through the mid 1990s with an emphasis on test scores. Even without the draconian emphasis on testing that came with NCLB, it was affecting the way our students were behaving.

“It made me recall my cousin’s experience in Germany. He was an English teacher in California. Early in his career, he got a chance to teach in Germany for a year on some kind of exchange program. He was struck by how respectful the German kids were and how attentitive as well. But he noted that they were so focused on the exam they had to take to pass the class that anything else would lose their attention.

“Why is it so impossible to convince some of our leaders of the deleterious effects of testing?”