Feed your pig!

I don’t know if you are familiar with this saying from the south, but I heard it at a recent HIgh Schools that Work (HSTW) conference…

“Weighing a pig over and over won’t make it fatter!”

This is a popular anti-testing quip that seems so “common sense” but reveals a distressing lack of understanding about how weighing [testing] can inform the farmer [teacher] about whether the feed [instruction] is benefiting the pig [student].
I will be sad if I don’t get one comment claiming that I am calling students pigs or animals – I hope you get the point of the metaphor/analogy.

Anyway, the key idea is not really about testing – it’s about good teaching. We test to monitor the learning that has occurred as a result of our teaching. It isn’t about taking the measurement, it is about informing us whether or not what we are doing is causing a change in short term result. If we don’t check often on a small scale, then we are literally just acting and hoping that it will make a difference and not really getting confirmation about our practices until much later (maybe at the end of the year in the form of a standardized test)!



And check often to see if they are getting fatter! If it is working spread the news, if they are starving find some better food!



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