Today in the United States, producing higher scores on
standardized tests of academic skills is the dominant goal of teacher
professional development, the primary gauge of teacher productivity, and
the almost single-minded focus of educator accountability. Certainly,
reading, computing, and reasoning well are critically important to
success as parents, citizens, and economic actors. Therefore, testing
these skills in elementary and secondary schools to make sure that
students learn them is warranted. At the same time, there is growing
agreement that scores on standardized tests of academic skills are
incomplete measures of the important things that students learn from
their teachers. A major challenge facing educators, policy makers, and
advocates is to achieve a better balance across the educational goals
that we prioritize.
We present new evidence in this report that untested learning
outcomes are measureable and that specific components of teaching
influence them in nuanced and interesting ways. As targets for improved
teaching and learning, these outcomes can supplement academic skills
and knowledge as intentionally cultivated developmental foundations
for school and life success.
Ferguson, Ronald F., with Sarah F. Phillips, Jacob F. S. Rowley, and Jocelyn W. Friedlander. "The Influence of Teaching Beyond Standardized Test Scores: Engagement, Mindsets, and Agency." The Achievement Gap Initiative at Harvard University, October, 2015.