Saturday, April 28, 2012

What do you do when you finish taking a high stakes test?

During the past two weeks, our students have been taking high stakes tests every day.  The 90 minutes of daily testing is a LONG time for an 8 year old to sit and work on ANYTHING!  Gee whiz...they wouldn't even focus on playing that long!
ANYWAY, the kids worked really hard every day and really tried to do their best; however, there was a quiet and intense tension in the air while they worked on their tests.  They worked diligently and concentrated and at times it was almost as if the room heated up while their brains worked on overload to answer questions- some of which were just plain hard!
THEN, after the prerequisite amount of time, the state said that their tests could be collected - if they were done - and they could be given their previously selected book to read. I wish I could have videotaped the before and after looks on their faces or find a way to document the change in energy flow of the room - but it happened.  We went from tense to tranquil in a New York minute! It was like the change in the air after a summer thunderstorm blows through! 
I know there is a message in all this that will certainly never be known to those in power to make decisions about measuring learning, but let me publicly share that yesterday, when I told them we were finally done, one little guy, deeply involved in the last page of a Wimpy Kid saga quietly said, "Please, just one more minute!"  Every single student in the room quietly respected his need to finish a "good book" before the rejoicing began!  We may be testing the daylights out of them; however, we have not taken away their love of reading!

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