Being “held responsible” really means one thing to classroom teachers – teaching to the state- and federally mandated exams administered each spring. (Teachers do not even get the entire school year before being held accountable.) Knowing that the tests are coming in the spring and that they will cover an impossible amount of standards thrusts teachers into an unwinnable situation: either they teach all standards shallowly to make sure the content on the test is covered before students sit down to take the exams, or they slow down and teach deeply, thus sacrificing their test scores by not covering all the content that will be on the exam. With sanctions and economic penalties dangling overhead, job evaluations hanging in the balance, and results of each school’s performance printed in the newspaper for the community to see, is it any wonder which path most teachers take?
Kelly Gallagher, “Readicide: How schools are killing reading and what you can do about it”