Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Standardized Testing Stole Our Days!

I planned in advance and completely forgot that we were having the standardized Math test today! Bummer!
Wonderful plans put on hold....

This is what my students and I lost today because Standardized testing took a day from us...

  • The chance to read an article on Tweentribune and post comments and/or leave a comment on our Quadblogging friends website.
  • Sharing laughter over the Brainpop Joke of the Day and viewing/discussing the video offered on Wonderopolis.
  • Reinforcing the concept of multiplication clusters, which they struggled with. Having the students who were ready, create, solve, and post their original story problems using GoAnimate.
  • Reading "The Lemonade War" out loud, and discussing and sharing our thoughts using Today's Meet.
  • Having students work on their Reading Choice board activities.
  • A rousing game of competitive "Vocabulary Word Biz."(Created with Word Biz in the Smartboard gallery)
  • Wondering and noticing about the constitutional rules for who can occupy an office. And I am especially bummed that we didn't get a chance to discuss candidates and issues so that we could play with  Adomatic:Create Your Own Campaign tomorrow! :(
  • And I really, really, wanted to hear the stories about the aliens landing on our school's parking lot. We started yesterday, and I burst out laughing when I read this, "After the alien burst in, we could hear Mr.A across the hall screaming like a girl." Had to show it to him.:)

Well, I guess I wasn't doing any "real" teaching anyway, seeing as how Multiple Choice was not an option in any of my lessons planned for the day.

But on the bright side, here's what I took from Standardized testing:
  • tired feet, because God forbid, I get caught sitting.
  • catching one of my students nodding out over the computer (Rarely happens when I'm teaching)
  • the joy of telling my students, "I can't help you." 
  • the ecstasy of watching my "babies" struggle, knowing I couldn't do anything about it
  • Looking forward to lunch/recess as I never have before.
  • the crappy feeling from trying to alleviate the pain of failing grades flashing before their eyes after they hit "Submit"(at least the ones who passed felt good)Now they don't even know whether they passed or not.
And think about the  days lost as teachers "teach to the test" in order not to lose their jobs? Or the programs stolen, Music, Art, PE, even Recess, in order to pack in more "learning"?
All this so that I can be held accountable for a student's test scores?  Who can I hold accountable for what was taken from us today, and every day since NCLB? Which no longer exists,but testing does!


  1. Wow...so true! I teach students with special needs and I go all year accommodating and modifying so they can learn the content, then on the test, I get to say,sorry, you are on your own. I have a couple of cryers every year.

    1. I teach high school ~ so I only had one "cryer" one year, but I will never forget her. Her mother was dying that day.

  2. this is what I worked with for two years. all we did was "teach to the test". Practice tests, until the kids could not even function on test day.. I no longer work for that school and funny.. neither does the principal.

  3. Augh. I was just having a conversation with one of my best friends about this same thing. She, incidentally, has decided to homeschool so that her kids can stay in love with learning rather than be held hostage by these tests. I wonder how many more will do the same if we don't figure out a better way of doing school?? Great post.

  4. How about watching an entire class of all of the bored Academic Level students push submit, to see "Proficient" or "Advanced" and watching the frustrated Special Needs students push submit, to see "Below Basic" or "Basic" . . . and not really knowing what to say to any of them other than, "OK -- let's go back to class and have a debate . . . or plan your presentations . . . or draft an original poem" -- rigorous assignments of which I am able to teach in a way that allows every student to shine.

    1. I feel your pain Rose. What can we say? I try and avoid "teaching to the test". Our students learn so much more when we actually teach them.