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solsc.2012: testing thoughts 7/31

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My school life (and home life, for that matter) has been consumed with testing.

I was a bit surprised to learn from a group of fifth grade students that they were anxious about the test because:

1.  They thought the test was part of their report card grades, and
2.  they thought the test was the deciding factor if they went to sixth grade.

"Oh, the thinks you can think."  I giggled inside trying desparately to hold back a smile.

I told them to take a deep breath, and explained, "You will be relieved to know neither of those statements are true.  We are still sending you all to junior high next year!" Gasps! "You can always come back to visit, but the tests are testing your learning and the teacher's teaching."

"What if all the tests come back, ppppllllluuuu -" thumbs down.

"Well, then, our principal will be asking us lots of questions, like 'What have you been doing all year?' But we know that won't happen because teachers have been teaching and you have been learning."

"Ok. So, what if some tests come back . . . " thumbs down again, tongue sticking out.

"Then we need to figure out what to do to help those kids.  It's all our responsibility.  Isn't that why we are here? To learn from each other?"

Heads nodded in agreement.  Sighs of relief.  Faces wiped of the worry.

"Let's do this!" One student cried out.

"Yeah!" The rest joined in.

"Now we will begin session 2 . . ." I began.

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  1. Amazing what they think about these tests. I reassure my fifth graders every year. My students told me yesterday that they thought they "rocked it." :)

  2. I think I will ask about what they think about the tests. I too am proctoring 504's for extended time. They are really enamored by the cozy spinning chairs in our conference room....hmmm. Im glad that you were able to ease their sweet minds and give them confidence.

  3. They need just as much (if not more) reassurance as we (adults) do. Tests are never fun or easy, just because we always wonder why we're being tested every day. Keep encouraging and reassuring them!

  4. Students' faces were wiped of the worry, but I bet not the teachers. I hate the pressure that these one-shot test produce.

  5. What-if-worries visit us all. It's good to have someone to lessen them. You were this person for the students and even if they don't say it, they sure appreciate it. Your slice is a good reminder to always explain to the student what the purpose of the test is.

  6. It has always bothered me that we (meaning the system) seem to somehow put these falsehoods in our students' heads. Do we really think added pressure is a GOOD thing?? Good for you for being honest with your students and releasing them from that undue stress!

  7. I'm glad your students were relieved of their worry. Our testing years are 3rd, 6th, 9th, and 10th grades. I taught 6th for 5 years, and although I loved the age group, I did not love the testing. I was glad when my teaching assignment changed to 7th and 8th grade.

  8. I'm always surprised when kids are brave enough to ask, "What will happen if I don't do well?" I hope our testing obsession doesn't have too much of a negative impact on their futures!

  9. Testing week is upon me too. It's been terrible. The fifth graders are already thinking about High School admissions and the stress of it so much more than they should have to bare. (is that even the right bear/bare? Need coffee.) Almost over.

  10. I used to have 7th graders think the same thing. I don't know where they get it! Glad you are there to straighten them out!


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