Thursday, April 10, 2008

Extreme Standardized Testing

We've been testing this week, you know the yearly standardized testing that all 3rd-8th graders have to endure. The testing that now determines if a teacher is in fact "highly qualified" or not. The testing that consumes our planning and strategies for the year. The testing we all dread so much! It's not fun, it's not age appropriate, it's not developmentally appropriate, it's not right!!!
I'm not complaining just to complain, but come on...when is it developmentally appropriate to ask an 8 or 9 year old to sit and read for 68 minutes straight???? That was just the first test on the first day. We are fortunate enough to enjoy these long test schedules for 4 days! During these weeks we have to go by a different schedule because we will not finish the tests in time to go to our normal 10:40 lunch time. We also can't go out to recess at our normal time because the noise disturbs those classrooms still testing. We have to wrap our classrooms in bulletin board paper so our kids can't get any "clue" to an answer! Students have to remain seated and have to raise their hand if they want to move an inch. Strangers (otherwise known as proctors) have to come into the classroom and 'monitor' because nobody believes teachers are professionals and should have the freedom to give a test once a year...even though we assess every day! The whole thing is ridiculous and makes me mad!
Pretty soon we’re going to be assessing them on how thoroughly they wipe after a trip to the bathroom. Or maybe using a rubric to score their ability to open those milk cartons at lunch. Perhaps we should think about attaching a bubble sheet to their recess routine just to make sure that their free play is highly monitored and accounted for. I keep waiting for their little turkey timers to pop…they have to be done. I am.

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