Saturday, April 13, 2013

Testing, 1,2,3

I read Kate's post the other day. I hear you and agree we seem to have gone a bit overboard on the testing bandwagon.  I wonder about some schools that may have focused on preparing for tests.  In talking to teachers across the tri-state area, there is pressure for kids to do well.  I worry that it may be transferred to kids, even inadvertently! Somtimes, I wonder if some have "sold out" to testing companies.  I worry about the pressure contributes to to "cheating" for scores!

Yet, (in my opinion) I am not sure I am all the way over on Kate's perspective either! While I want to reduce the number of SLOs, LOs, ELAs, MATs, SATs, CATs and other standardized tests that support real estate values more than teaching and learning, there is a place for student and teacher accountability!  We do not work in a vacuum and every student has the right to learn in every classroom.  There is a place for assessments that identify students at risk and those who might have fallen through the proverbial cracks in teaching and learning. There is a need for greater achievement and focus on kids whose language, socio-economic status, frequent moves, and life stresses put them at risk.  There is value in assessment (formative) guided instruction every day in every classroom. 

Yet on the eve of the great testing season for young in our state, there is angst. There is fear of the unknown  There is concern from parents.  There may even be a bit of concern as kids realize desks in rows, teachers with pursed lips and silence in the halls means something!  There are questions from all concerned about the validity and reliability of the tests we are about to take.

 So many questions. So few answers. So many hoping our children will have a weekend filled with playing outside, soccer, baseball and birthday parties.  So many prayers that we will all find ways to put smiles on their faces, assure kids they just need to do their best and believe that this will someday feel less stressful to all parties.     

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