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Lost Purposes

Depends who you are, doesn't it? I think a lot of us privileged folk shudder at the idea of "teaching to the test," because we went to schools were everyone was so far above the standard that this would have been dull and stunting. But NCLB doesn't exist to help high-proficiency students, and I imagine it has next to no effect on them. The classrooms that need to "teach to the test" are the ones that have trouble passing it, and they generally consist of students whose main problem is that they can't read or can't do basic arithmetic.

I haven't seen the tests myself, but it actually seems like you'd have to be quite incompetent to design a test on reading that a child can pass without being able to read. Bottom line, test scores don't seem like much of a "lost purpose" when we're talking about underperforming schools (and giving up some teacher autonomy/creativity is, frankly, very likely not a cost in these cases).