Student progress is critical factor
Imagine you are coaching a basketball team with no assistant coaches. You have no choice in who your players are, but they are young and eager. Their ability range varies widely, as does their athleticism. What do you do?
Perhaps you start everyone out on the basics, teaching them all aspects of the game. Perhaps you give a skills assessment and you have the players work on their weakest skills, so while some are passing, others are working on defense, and yet others are working on shooting all at the same time.
When the day of the big game arrives, you find out the entire game will be scored based solely on how well your players shoot free throws if they are fouled. Nothing else matters. It’s all based on free throws. If you don’t win, you are fired as coach despite coaching for 20 years.
This is exactly the scenario that teachers and students find themselves in on the state tests. According to the state, it does not matter how much a child has grown under your tutelage. It also doesn’t matter if they have a personal crisis. It doesn’t matter that they had a well-rounded education that touched on all aspects of learning. All that matters is what is on that test and how students did on that test the week they were assessed.
What would you have your players work on? Free throws or the whole game of basketball? What should teachers work on, educating the child or preparing them for the test?