Frustration with testing
This week our students took the first of three state benchmark tests. Since I don't have a "homeroom" group, I proctored (sp?) a small group of resource students while they tested. They worked so hard. One of the boys was proud as punch that he had written his longest essay ever.....it was less than one half of a page. When his score comes in, he'll score basic or below......not good enough for the powers that be. How absurd is it that a student gets no credit for just improving? Why do all have to be "proficient"? That's like saying every kid who signs up for Little League baseball will make the All-Star team at the end of the season. I taught 6th grade English for 13 years. I watched kids grow in their writing from a 2 sentence paragraph to a longer one with some real attempt at description and elaboration. Their longer paragraph certainly won't pass the test as far as the state is concerned, but in my opinion they should get credit for improvement. Isn't that what education is all about??
I think the tests are worthwhile if they are used as one measure of a student's, teacher's, school's work, but for major judgments to be based on the results of one test is unfair. I just wish those who make these decisions would spend one grading period in a classroom. I think they would see that a student's test score represents so much more than his/her actual learning/skill. (Did mom and dad fight again last night? Do I have a cold? Is she still my friend? What if I don't pass this test? Is grandma going to get well? etc.)
Thanks for listening. I know my post won't change anything, but it feels good to just complain!!!