Monday, March 5, 2012

solsc.2012: test plech! 5/31

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State testing begins today.  Ugh, I hate these days.


They test my energy.

As frustrating as state assessments are, I am more frustrated by all the test plech! - I mean, test prep materials and time dedicated to "preparing" our students to pass the tests.  Unfortunately, a culture was created in my school that test prep was an essential component of student success on meeting state standards.


Last Friday, a third grade student stopped me in the hallway mid-morning.

"Uh, Mrs. Nero!  You won't believe what we are doing.  I almost fell asleep." Daniel said.

"Oh, really?  What are you doing?"  I replied.

"We are doing a practice test."

"Oh, like talking about testing strategies?"  I questioned.

"No, like practicing and pretending it's the real one.  It was so boring.  And we did reading this morning and then math this afternoon!"

"Sorry about that.  I'm sure your teacher is just trying to help you get ready for next week." I sighed.


Really?  ReaLLY??  REALLY???  

What good is a practice test going to do now?  What about giving students more opportunities to read?  To think?  To talk?  To write?  I hope to slowly change the understanding of test plech!

Thanks for letting me vent.  I needed that.  Let the testing begin!


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23 comments:

  1. Ugh - I hear you. I abhor test prep and people often think I'm in the wrong as a result. :( Are you in Illinois? I live in central IL and we start ISAT this week but my grade level won't be starting until tomorrow. Good luck!

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    1. Yes, I'm in Illinois with the good ole ISAT tests. Only a couple years more . . . It may be my summer "project" to dive into the research. I've read two great articles, but always looking for more!

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  2. Venting is good for all involved in state testing. It's like taking out the garbage--has to be done, but it stinks! I'm a retired teacher and am going to help classroom teachers this week by being there as a support person. I'm glad to do it. I won't enjoy seeing the painful faces though. Good luck.

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  3. Ugh is right. A couple of weeks ago my principal called a few of us together and asked us if we wanted to do some "practice tests" with our high schoolers before testing begins this month. Simultaneously we shouted NO. His reply, "That's good enough for me". Lucky me!

    I read a piece about testing yesterday. I'm going to see if I can find it and send you the link. It won't make you feel better, but it is supportive of our feelings!

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    1. Deb, please share if you can find the link! Thank you!!!

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  4. Does this test prep a) help the kids; b)help the test results for the school c) give the kids something to do for the day? Or zap the energy of all involved?

    I'm sure there is positive and negative about test prep. Try to look for the positive and move into this week believing in your students!

    Hope the testing goes smoothly. Love ya m

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  5. I sympathize. Looking at the bright side - if testing starts now, it will be over soon.

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  6. ...as I sit, I am not meeting with my groups, I'm not eating my lunch at the appointed time, I'm watching 504's take the test...hmmm ISATs...when are we done? I'm just so tired of the acronym.

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  7. Venting is good! Test prep should be unnecessary. Isn't teaching all year test prep? You have lots of great craft in this, too fun to read!

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  8. Yep...you needed to say it -- people need to hear it.
    Ruth

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  9. I followed you from my blog to yours. :-) I shared an article with my staff last week; it was one I found on TWT. If you haven't read it, it's a must. It's called "Test Prep" posted on Monday, February 20, by Ruth. Enjoy!!

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  10. I love your little list of things you'd rather give the students more time to do -- super powerful!

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  11. Vent away....we'll be there in a month or so, yuck!

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    1. Vent...we understand! Our school is in test prep madness and I think everyone is going insane! Thinking of you!
      Katy

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  12. Ugh! I can't imagine anything worse than test prep. Let's weigh the pig everyday, I'm sure by weighing him often he will have gained weight. Let's get the government out of the classroom and let folks who know what they're doing take care of teaching the kids. I feel your frustration. Totally get it, and people need to hear it. Too bad parents weren't reading these blogs.

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  13. Good vent. Test prep?? If we didn't have the dumb testing we wouldn't have the good ol test prepper's. I just found last week we get to add yet another test to our testing. That will be FOUR tests in FIRST grade!!! I'm with you...really!!
    Tammy
    First Grade @ Klinger Cafe

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  14. It is frustrating that measuring student learning is still so mis-understood. I hope that some day we are heard and people begin to understand that everyone is on a life long learning journey that cannot be measured with a multiple choice question!

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  15. We had the day off today for Pulaski day, but our testing begins this weeks as well (I too am in Illinois). The teacher next door to me has given her students at least 3 practice tests. Really?? Meanwhile, I am teaching my 8th grade students to dance (for real when we practice, in their heads during the REAL thing) every time they hear the term: ISAT. I figure, if nothing else, they will have a reason to smile while listening to instructions.

    It is good to read your venting- it is as cleansing as venting myself!

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  16. Practice tests are a waste of time. One practice test is fine (just like one does one rehearsal before a wedding). Anything more is too much. Time should be spent instructing, not practicing.

    Well-said!

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  17. UGH! Look at all the comments you have received - you have hit a nerve that all of us share, it seems. Test prep - test plech! It is not what teaching should be about. Hope you feel the solidarity! Thanks for the post!

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  18. We start testing in Colorado tomorrow and I am dreading it. I was at school until after 6 tonight "sheeting" my room- every single bit of print, including the word wall, strategy charts, book basket signs, etc., all has to be covered. Lots of teachers I know have been doing test prep since we went back in January, I started last week. Am a little concerned about whether the kids are ready, but am trying to trust that all of the good thinking and reading and writing they have done all year will help! Try to have a good week anyway.

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  19. I loved this post, Michelle!! I love that it has inspired so much feedback, too. This is a topic that so many of us are frustrated with these days!

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  20. State testing is one thing I don't miss as an int'l school teacher! I agree that kids need more time to read, talk and write. Hopefully there will be more reforms in the school system in the states!

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Thanks for sharing your thoughts.