I Would Choose for a Student to Fail


I’d rather not choose, but if I had to, I’d choose for a student to fail the test.

I had that thought as I paced the tile floor while on gym duty. It was just a thought exercise I was having with myself. Would I rather a student develop a love of reading and fail the big test, or would I rather a student pass the multiple choice state assessment but not really enjoy reading.

I’d love to have both. Wouldn’t you? The admins would be happy with the data. We’d be content knowing that a child left our classroom with a joy for the written word. I’d love to have both. And it does happen.


But I’m finding more and more that developing a love for books and learning reading skills to fill out an answer document are increasingly at odds with each other. Real reading and school reading I sometimes tell my class.

It pains me to see teachers running off thick, stapled reading packets. But I’ve been there too.

“Make sure you read your passage carefully.”

“Be sure to completely bubble in your answer choice.”

“Don’t forget to use your strategies.”

I’ve got a strategy for you…

If I had to choose, I will always choose for a student to find joy in reading, even if it meant failing a test. I care about the student more than the score. Real reading and school reading. Why can’t it just be