Sixty is NOT Old!!

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Frustration with testing

This week our students took the first of three state benchmark tests. Since I don't have a "homeroom" group, I proctored (sp?) a small group of resource students while they tested. They worked so hard. One of the boys was proud as punch that he had written his longest essay was less than one half of a page. When his score comes in, he'll score basic or below......not good enough for the powers that be. How absurd is it that a student gets no credit for just improving? Why do all have to be "proficient"? That's like saying every kid who signs up for Little League baseball will make the All-Star team at the end of the season. I taught 6th grade English for 13 years. I watched kids grow in their writing from a 2 sentence paragraph to a longer one with some real attempt at description and elaboration. Their longer paragraph certainly won't pass the test as far as the state is concerned, but in my opinion they should get credit for improvement. Isn't that what education is all about??

I think the tests are worthwhile if they are used as one measure of a student's, teacher's, school's work, but for major judgments to be based on the results of one test is unfair. I just wish those who make these decisions would spend one grading period in a classroom. I think they would see that a student's test score represents so much more than his/her actual learning/skill. (Did mom and dad fight again last night? Do I have a cold? Is she still my friend? What if I don't pass this test? Is grandma going to get well? etc.)

Thanks for listening. I know my post won't change anything, but it feels good to just complain!!!


At 9:01 AM, Blogger Grammy said...

I think that's one of the biggest complaints that all teachers have. How can we grade a PERSON? I loved teaching, but report cards were never my favorite part. This heavy testing takes so much of the joy of learning away and the joy of teaching too.

At 6:35 PM, Blogger Chelle said...

You and I were on the same wavelengths, I guess!! It is nice to see another Gifted Ed Christian lady! I will have to keep checking back.

At 10:22 AM, Blogger melnel said...

I have a few siblings who went through public education's special ed programs. One of my sisters wasn't supposed to graduate from high school and now she's a semester away from graduating from college with a teaching certificate for Special Education and Elementary Ed. She's doing her student teaching right now, and is running into the same problems: people don't look at the big picture or at the improvement--only at the test scores. She's having so many problems with her supervising teacher who just thinks she can't do it because she's not perfect and doesn't test well.

That's tough for someone like me, who's just good at getting high scores on tests, to watch. My sister isn't dumb. Her students aren't either. They just don't test well, and the tests are no indications of the miraculous improvements they make daily and the dedication they have to have to realize their dreams. My sister's been working on this harder than any "good tester" would ever think of working. But it all comes down to a test that she may or may not pass.

What do I really say to her?

At 2:09 PM, Blogger Kim from Hiraeth said...

Hey Mimi!

It's March! Blog some more! I want to get to know you! :)

At 7:47 AM, Blogger Morning Glory said...

I second that from Kim. I was hoping to find some bloggers my age.

At 9:20 AM, Blogger Mom2fur said...

I totally agree with you. It seems all the 'graders' (I'm not sure what you call the people who grade these things) see is what is before them in black and white. They don't see the child behind the test. I hate these state tests. Some kids just plain aren't 'test takers'!


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