Friday, March 3, 2017

End of Round One

Testing is over.
Except for the make-ups.
And I have some thoughts.

We've all seen the meme with all the animals lined up and they are being asked to climb a tree. I think we all agree on how idiotic this is, yet here we are participating in the lunacy.

We work every day to find out how each child learns best and would do so even if "differentiation" weren't the buzz word of the day. Some go to extreme lengths to help kids find their best learning environment, such as Starbucks seating and ambient lighting. We teach them to go back in the text and highlight essential information. We teach them that team work is essential. We teach them to use resources. We teach them to ask for help on things they don't understand.

Then because the government wants data, We put them in a room in desks that are now in rows. We cover the resources on the wall we've encouraged them to use all year. We give them the number 2 pencils to use and collect them at the end. We tell them to clear their desks. We tell them stray marks will harm results so they can't highlight or underline or circle important information. We read from the same script as every other teacher in the state (and if we were to all be common core and taking the same test we could be reading in unison with the entire country). Then we say, "You may begin."  We circle the room stopping when a hand is raised to say, "I'm sorry, I can't tell you. Just do the best you can."

And we die a little inside.

Studies have shown a person tests best in the environment in which they learned the material. So, we pull the kids who have accommodations and have them take the test in a different room with a teacher who is not their own.

It's wrong.

But not just because it's not appropriate. It's wrong because it is data for data's sake. The tests supposedly reflect how individual teachers are doing and how the school and district fare. But how does this affect how we teach?

For some reason "we've" decide the curriculum isn't "rigorous" enough. And we now have kindergartners writing persuasive letters using at least 2 reasons why or why not. Because it will be important when they first take the test in 3rd grade? Knowing their address is no longer relevant, but knowing how to write an informational text such as Penguins can... Penguins are... and Penguins have... is very relevant.

1st graders read and discuss "The Lemonade Wars" because it fits the economics portion of first grade standards. As if first grade needs economics.

We complain. We say we are disheartened at what it does to our kids.
And then we put the "TESTING" sign on the door and remind them that once we start handing out booklets there is to be no talking.

We admire those who post their letters of resignation and applaud their courage. What if we joined them before it came to feeling like giving up is the best option and fought for the change we know needs to happen? To paraphrase Margaret Mead, "Could a group of  thoughtful committed citizens {change education}? Indeed they are the only ones who ever have." I'm afraid the answer is no. Too many of us are sheep and those who would lead the charge to change can't afford to take on the issue alone.

So today we put the "TESTING" sign back in the box.
In another month or so we'll take it out again for round 2.
It will still be inappropriate.
We'll do it anyway.


1 comment:

  1. >And we die a little inside.<

    Every. Single. Time.

    Not much more I can write other than I feel your pain, and I'm glad that my own kids are almost done with this kind of foolishness. I feel for those coming up because it's soul draining for them and us.

    Thank you for putting into words what many of us feel each time we put the "testing" sign up on our doors. :(