Academic Leadership Journal


The standardized testing movement has inadvertently placed pressure on elementary and secondary instructors to teach to the test. Primarily this is manifested through memorization and testing skills training and less on developing content mastery and problem solving. Hands-on activities (also referred to as inquiry learning) are lauded by the literature as an effective methodology in the development of content mastery (Akerson, V., Hanson, D., & Cullen, T.; NSF, 2010; Smith, T., Desimone, L., Zeidner, T., Dunn, A., Bhatt, M. & Rumyantseva, N., 2007). Nevertheless, administrators often see the inquiry method as an ineffective use of classroom and training time diverting attention away from test preparation. The research abounds, however, regarding the positive influence hands-on/ inquiry-based learning can have on testing results (Cuevas, P., Lee, O., Hart, J. & Deaktor, R., 2005; Marx, R., Blumenfeld, P. C., Krajcik, J., Fishman, B., Solomay, E., Geier, R. & Tal, R. T., 2004; Stohr- Hunt, P. M., 1996; Ruby, A., 2006; and Ashman, S., 2007).