When preparing the majority of your lessons, what single variable is at the fore-front of your mind?

TeAch-nology.com's Teacher Poll of the Week
When preparing the majority of your lessons, what single variable is at the fore-front of your mind?
Learning Standards
Norm-Referenced Achievement Tests (State/National Assessments)
Criterion-Referenced Tests (Knowledge/Skills-Based Assessments)
Student Interest

View Results

With four variables to choose from, more teachers keep learning standards in the fore-front of their mind when preparing lessons. Student interest was voted as the second most important variable with Criterion-Referenced Tests and Norm-Referenced Achievement Tests a distant third and fourth.

Learning standards are important because they set the grade curriculum objectives. State education boards set learning standards to ensure that students meet pre-determined educational levels. Using these state objectives, standardized tests are often created to test the effectiveness of schools and school districts at meeting the learning standards. School funding is based in part on the results of standardized test scores so keeping learning objectives in mind when preparing lessons means that teacher are helping to prepare students to meet these standards.

Using learning standards to prepare lessons can be both positive and negative. Teachers may like to have a goal or objective on which to base instructional time. The end result must approximate the learning standard in the chosen subject so it can aid in determining the direction of the lesson. Other teachers may dislike learning standards because it can stifle creativity in lesson preparation. With a narrow set of standards, teachers are far more limited in what they are able to teach and still meet state objectives.

Approximately one third of teachers keep student interests in the fore-front of their mind when planning lessons. Lessons developed around student interests are often the most effective because students are motivated to pay attention and learn the course material. There are often old standbys that teachers can use year after year that tweak students' interest. Dinosaurs or the solar system are great sources of material or thematic units for younger students and they never seem to grow old. Keeping abreast of current trends with students is also important in selecting study topics or lesson plans that are aimed at student interests.

Less than one quarter of respondents prepare lessons with assessment testing in mind. Although learning standards are tied to standardized testing most teachers do not teach specifically to accommodate assessment tests. Teaching the course material to meet learning standards and hopefully incorporating student interests where possible should ensure that assessment testing is successful for most students.

Lesson preparation is a huge part of the teaching profession and it is good to know that most teachers have the same goals in mind.