What Should You Expect From Test Prep Materials?

Over the last five years, we have learned a lot about instructional materials. One observation is that comprehensive and supplemental materials, including RtI and test prep resources, are designed very differently and are intended for different purposes. Another observation is that unless you use a material for its intended purpose, it is unlikely you will achieve the result you need.

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Some Field Trips Improve Critical Thinking Skills

In the face of decreased budgets and increased pressure to improve students’ performance on standardized tests, many schools have reduced the number of field trips they provide to cultural institutions, such as museums and historical sites.  Instead, schools have focused on increasing the amount of time students spend in class preparing for tests and often allocate resources to “reward” field trips to entertainment venues, such as amusement parks, for students who improve their attendance or test scores.  However, research suggests that in de-emphasizing culturally enriching field trips, schools are missing valuable opportunities to develop students’ critical thinking skills as well as their ability to appreciate and understand diverse peoples, perspectives, and historical periods.

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