Serendip is an independent site partnering with faculty at multiple colleges and universities around the world. Happy exploring!

You are here

Fun and Testing

allison.hacker's picture

“This suffocating pressure explains why Washington School changes its character during the months leading up to those exams—why a school where learning is fun turns into a school where fun comes to die.” (Kirp 175)

The first time I typed this quote into my blog post I accidentally typed, “where learning comes to die”, replacing “fun” with “learning”. But isn’t that effectively what happens when school ceases to be fun and interesting? I know that as a child, I learned material much better when it was presented in a fun and exciting way, and a quick google search yields studies showing the positive effect of fun on learning. I understand why the school’s character would change in preparation for high-stakes testing, but I also wonder if maintaining fun in the classroom would benefit students more than the usual test prep since they would learn more easily. Perhaps it’s idealistic and naïve of me to think this way, but from the way Kirp has described Washington School thus far, it seems like the sort of school that would be open to such a strategy—if there weren’t so much riding on the test results. Unfortunately this puts them in a catch twenty-two: they don’t feel like they can have fun in learning until the state oversight is no longer hanging over their heads, but keeping fun in learning even during the months leading up to the state test might help better their scores.