Teach to the Standard

I asked this question on Facebook and didn’t get a whole lot of responses.

What does it mean to you to:

“Teach to the Standard.  Test to the Objective.”

What it means to me is that you should teach the skill exactly as it should be performed.  Teach to the Standard.

However, remaining aware that some students may not be able to complete it exactly as presented due to some physical challenge.  A modification may need to be made so that they can still meet the objective.  Test to the Objective.

So… if for example…

Someone want to become a lifeguard but they only have one arm.  The Standard may say something like:  be able to swim X number of yards front crawl, use both hands to hold the head from moving… etc.

Does this mean that they cannot become a lifeguard.  OF COURSE NOT!

If the person is able to swim X number of yards  competently – probably using some sort of side stroke.  If they are able to stabilize the head using one arm and their body or leg or some other technique.  Then they are able to become a lifeguard.  The objective  isn’t to be able to swim front crawl or use 2 hands, it is to safely reach a drowning victim, stabilize their head and get them to safety.  If they are able to do that, then they have met the objective.

This is all clearly present in the American Red Cross Instructors Manual and even in their published ADA accommodation document.


(I know you were waiting for this part.)   🙂

So… why was my daughter not permitted to get her lifeguard certification because she cannot talk?  Why was that teacher so adamant about it and so unwilling to adapt and modify.  My daughter can meet the objective.  She can more than meet the objective.  She can meet the standard!  She can more than meet the standard.  But she just will do it silently.  She can perform all the skills exactly as expected.  She can swim X number of yards front crawl, she can stabilize a head, she can rescue a drowning person.  She can perform CPR.  She can do everything expected of a lifeguard. The instructor was not willing to listen to us, to understand the situation, nor to modify.  Is it such a stretch to modify something that is mainly a physical task?  She could not/would not tell us exactly when/why she wanted her to talk.  Additionally (and I may have mentioned this before) she ridiculed her in front of the class for not talking.  Any scenarios I foresee in lifeguarding (from my over 30 years of experience) can easily be adapted for non-talking.  Does the lifeguard not wear a whistle around their neck?  Hmm….

I am taking the Lifeguard Instructor Certification this week ($240) out of my pocket.  I will be asking this very question to that instructor.  I will also be reporting the instructor in question to the Red Cross.   I have wanted to have the lifeguard instructor certification for years.  This incident and incompetence has just made it happen sooner.

Not only can I use it to recertify my own children, I can recertify their friends.  I can provide that service to both church camps and Girl Scout camps.


Direct quote off of the Red Cross Instructor Training Manual.

I am open-minded enough to know how to do that.  How to understand that not everyone is the same and that some people need modifications.  Not so they cannot do the skill, but so they can meet the objective.   If they cannot meet the objective, of course, they have failed the test, but sometimes, modification and understanding and thinking outside the box are necessary.