Head of Middle School Tag Green on CLT3-6
As part of CLT’s commitment to provide the best possible testing experience, we conducted a pilot this past spring of our new assessments for Grades 3-6 that will be available to the public in Spring 2024. The pilot was conducted at schools all across the country; afterward, both students and teachers submitted detailed feedback on the assessment and CLT employees interviewed a few teachers to gain a deeper understanding of their experience.
We had the pleasure of speaking with Tag Green, the head of middle school at Providence Christian School in Dallas, TX. His enthusiastic answers focused on the beauty of administering a test that is relevant and inspiring to students.
CLT: Can you describe your students’ experience with CLT3-6? Did you receive any specific feedback from them?
TG: I actually did get some feedback from students and it was really interesting to me because when I was reading through all the information that you guys sent before the test, one of the things that stuck in my mind about the promotional materials was that this was a test that was life-giving to students. I didn’t say anything at all to the students about it. I didn’t want to influence the way they perceived the test and I didn’t even know if they would understand what that meant. So in the middle of the testing, I was struck by the fact that some fourth and fifth grade students actually mentioned to me: “We really like this test a lot better than the one that we usually take!” And I said, “Well, what do you mean by that? Why do you like it so much better?” And they said, “It’s more like what we’ve learned in the classroom … and also, the test is just so beautiful! We just really enjoy taking it!” They were talking about the beautiful artwork on the cover and the artwork that was inside … the passages in the reading comprehension section were things that they recognized from our study here at school, and that was really encouraging to them.
I think there was a level of comfort with the content of the test that they don’t necessarily feel with the other standardized test that we usually take, because the focus of our curriculum is so different from what other schools do. I’ll share too, as a parent, I had two of my own children taking the pilot testing … and my own children loved the test! They just thought it was so much better than the one that we normally take–so much so that my son wrote an essay in class about how our school should abandon the other testing and go with the CLT! So I was very pleased both as an administrator and as a parent.
CLT: How would you say CLT3-6 fits into the mission and vision of your school as a whole?
Tag Green: When we were giving the testing, I was so encouraged by the response of the students, and as I thumbed through the test myself, I could tell–this is definitely more in line with who we are as a school. And so it felt like this is not a waste of my kids’ time, and the scores we’re going to get are not arbitrary. That’s one of the things that I think has been hard about the other standardized testing … they’re not things that we cover in our curriculum so it’s almost meaningless, other than to just compare them to everybody else in the nation who’s taking the test.
Even though I haven’t seen the score reports for the CLT3-6 yet, I felt like the data I’m going to get back is going to be really meaningful because I’m getting to compare my students with how other students in classical schools are doing and I think that’s going to be really valuable information.
CLT: How would you describe the teachers’ and administrators’ experience with the CLT3-6? Did you hear any specific feedback from them about the test?
TG: So I kind of took on the role of being the CLT point person at our school for the pilot testing and I also proctored the test for the CLT3-6. So all of our students that did that pilot testing–I was the one proctoring it. We did go ahead and do the CLT8 with our 7th and 8th graders, just as a pilot for a handful of them too–so I had another teacher testing them. And both of us had a very similar experience as far as proctoring the testing was concerned. In both cases, our students talked about how much they enjoyed the testing, which was really odd; that’s not what you expect to hear from students when they’re taking a standardized test! It took so much less time than what we typically give for standardized testing that I felt like it was almost refreshing in a way.
As far as an administrator’s viewpoint, I felt like everything was extremely well-communicated and very easy to follow. In fact, when I got the test packets and I pulled out the instructions, I read the instructions and I was like, “Surely, I’m missing something that’s going to make this more complicated?” But it was very easy and seamless. It didn’t take much time at all to get ready to give the test, and we sent the test right back, and it was a very easy process.
CLT: What would you say to schools like yours that have not had experience with the CLT3-6 and are maybe hesitant to try it out?
TG: I would say, “Go for it! Give it a try, I think you’re going to be very pleased with the difference.” I will say, it was a little bit of a nerve-wracking thing to think about changing what we’ve always done at our school, and I really enjoyed the opportunity to do some pilot testing just to see. We’ve decided to give both this year–the ERB and the CLT–so that we can spend a couple of years getting to know the data really well so we can adequately communicate to parents, “This is what this means!” But I have no hesitation at all in recommending that classical schools make the switch to CLT because I feel like, content-wise, you’re going to feel like, “This is the right kind of test that my students should be taking.” These are things that I recognize from my own learning. This is the kind of thing I’ve been teaching my students all along during the year. So I can recommend it without any hesitation at all.
To learn more about the Classic Learning Test, you can take a look at the resources on our main website, as well as our version of the “Western canon,” the CLT Author Bank. The writers and anonymous works of the Author Bank are profiled weekly here at the Journal, from ancients like Hesiod and Origen, through medievals and early moderns like Marie de France, Robert Boyle, and Immanuel Kant, to those of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries like Hans Christian Andersen and Sigmund Freud. Thank you for reading the Journal, and have a great day!
Published on 17th October, 2023.