The Kansas State Board of Education heard a report Tuesday that as many as one in five elementary teachers in Kansas and surrounding states are reporting science grades on student report cards, despite the fact that they don’t spend any time teaching the subject or testing pupils’ knowledge in it.
George Griffith, superintendent of the Trego school district in western Kansas and a member of a Kansas committee helping craft new national science standards, said he conducted a survey of more than 900 elementary teachers in Kansas, Colorado, Missouri, Oklahoma and Nebraska. The survey was conducted as part of Griffith’s doctoral dissertation.
Griffith said teachers responding to the survey said they reported grades in science because there was a spot on the grade card for it. But the teachers felt so pressured to increase performance in the high-stakes reading and math tests that they have cut back or eliminated class time for science.
It’s not just Kansas. This is sad.
When teaching to the test means focusing on reading and math, EVERYTHING else suffers. Students deserve a well rounded education. Emphasis on math and reading is important but why can’t that be incorporated into science classes (that require reading and math). The country’s future will suffer because we think performing well standardized test assessments are more important than teaching and thinking.
Board members seem more concerned that grades were reported when the subject was not taught. I think I have a little sympathy for teachers here who might be trying but run out of in-school time. But in Kansas, if science has been marginalized and discarded, through their ridiculous history of removing mention of evolution from the curriculum, why is this finding a surprise?