I have heard people complain that schools spend so much time on standardized tests that they don’t have time to teach, and I always thought that it was just another excuse. There are so many students who are not achieving the standards and we’ve all known a teacher or two who didn’t seem to give the profession their all, so it stands to reason that we’d want some accountability!
But today my poor little kiddos took tests all day long, minus a break for library, recess and lunch! They are one terrific class and they did it like good little troopers, but I felt so sorry for them! Every day they come in and ask, “Are we going to have a test?” Because usually we do.
If it’s not a test required by the state, then it’s one required by the school district, or a research team, or the curriculum, or it’s a formative assessment to see how they’re learning is progressing, or maybe even a practice test to help them get ready for the test.
Students spend most of the first month of school being assessed to determine what they are strong in and what they need to be taught. Then there’s a nice lull until the first grading period where they only have formative assessments and maybe a district test or two. Then after winter break the testing begins full throttle and it doesn’t slow down until the kids head off for summer vacation.
I try to make all of the testing as purposeful as I can, using copies of the students work to help them reflect on their strengths and goals, or using them to help guide my instruction, but I do hope that we get to a slightly more efficient place where all of the levels of bureaucracy don’t get to have their own tests–or at least I hope that exchanging valentines will be a well-deserved reprieve for them.
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