ERIC Number: ED214104
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981
Minimum Competency Doesn't Mean Minimum Teaching.
Valmont, William J.
Many educators think that the end result of minimum competency programs has been the lowering of the quality of learning by most students. It appears that once minimum competencies are held up as the expected level of attainment for all students, there is a tendency to aim all instruction toward those competencies to the exclusion of a wider range of learning possibilities. With the advent of minimum competency testing and its effects upon reading instruction, it appears that neither teachers nor students have their sights set on excelling. Factors contributing to this state of affairs include the public's lack of confidence in the public schools and their staffs and legislative demands for myriad standardized tests. Such massive testing requires excessive time, money, and effort for the dubious benefit of an uninformed public. Four things for educators to consider in combatting the tendency to teach toward minimum competencies in reading are (1) avoid teaching toward the test, (2) give students exposure to a wide range of reading activities regardless of the method used to test their performance, (3) expect more than minimum competence from students, and (4) avoid teaching reading skills in the isolation by which they are frequently tested. In spite of the problems, competency testing has brought about efforts to discover how well teachers are teaching all students to read and to examine the reading curriculum more carefully. (HTH)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the International Reading Association (26th, New Orleans, LA, April 27-May 1, 1981).