Is Learning to Take Standardized Tests Discovery?

As those of you who read my blog know, my daughter teaches first grade in the Memphis public schools. She said today her students are spending the day in “Discovery”.

Immediately visions of test tubes and conversations with Mr. Wizard from my childhood come to mind.

“What will they be discovering?” I asked.

“Standardized tests, that’s what Discovery is. They take hour long standardized tests.”

“First graders? Is that age appropriate?” I asked.

She just looked at me.

So I looked it up online. I encourage you to do the same. It is a curriculum of sorts although it globs k-6 lesson plans together and suggests an overhead projector and pens as teaching tools. The math lesson I read said to teach children that when they see the word “each” it indicates multiplication. Really?

Here is a quote from a k-6 Math lesson:

Ask students how they would solve this problem. First, discuss which operation they should use. Point out that the words “the total amount” usually indicate that addition is called for.


I invite you to discover and decide if teaching this curriculum is progressive. Does it facilitate learning? Is it user friendly? Are students getting our money’s worth? Who researched this curriculum? I could find no information about research. Suggested reading was published in 1999 and 2000. Surely there are resource materials that are more up to date.

So I read a bit about education funding:

This article is interesting. It states TN spends $10,088 per pupil. If students are in school 180 days and there are 20 students in my daughter’s class, what is “the total amount” spent per student today?

Can you solve this problem with addition?