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Test, test, test, test, test, test


I am so tired. It isn't even dark yet, and I'm already slouched over my laptop in bed, ready to call it a night. Is it because I have been pulling late nights constructing award-winning unit plans? Is it because I have been toiling long hours at school to develop high-interest, multi-sensory centers that touch on all of the multiple intelligences? Not even. I haven't taught jack yet this week and won't be providing services until next.

We're just in the middle of our New Mexico Standards Based Assessments. This is the week our entire school year has been bracing for. This is what our teaching has revolved around for the past eight months. This test (and the students' scores) will determine our future as a school (Corrective Action, anyone?), our fates as teachers (Hello SY2007-2008!) and our pride (or disappointment) in our students. This is the time when nerves are strung, the room is hushed and No. 2 pencils are sharpened and (hopefully) poised for academic brilliance.

I am so tired. I am tired of testing for 8 hours straight each day. I am tired of reading the same questions out loud and I am tired of not being able to help students when they genuinely want to know what "foreshadowing" means.

But most of all, I am tired of revolving my lessons around the NMSBA. I'm tired of teaching kids the tricks to taking standardized tests when I really would love to spend more time teaching them tricks to decoding tough words. I am tired of watching my students in special education feel like losers for failing a seventh grade test, when in fact they have already made two years of growth to reach the third grade reading level this year. I am tired of watching all that confidence we built up over the past eight months be blown away by a single state-mandated test.

This is not a rant against No Child Left Behind. This is not a rant about state and school accountability. In fact, I am in favor of keeping NCLB with appropriate reforms and funding, and mostly agree with the Washington Post's editorial on proposed changes to NCLB. Assessment, accountability and results are key to academic success. I look forward to a healthy balance nationwide of accountability and creative teaching.

All I really mean to say is, despite how tired I am now, I am really pumped up to teach the last two months of school, post-NMSBA.

EDIT: I'm also tired of not being able to tell my kids how supremely proud I am of them when they remember how to convert fractions and plan an essay, even though they were working on regrouping and writing a simple sentence back in September! Even though we're in the middle of testing, they still wave me over to look at their work and it kills me to not be able to tell them how much they rock.


Hi Jessica,

I just finished two weeks of testing. (Fifth Grade.) We all feel worn out and kind of sore from sitting so long each day. Like you, I am supremely proud of my students for the hard work, and the focus they displayed. I don't think I could have held a pencil that long. Now comes the fun again. Being with my students is just the best, and I look forward to seeing them every day. I like your take on life. Your students are lucky to have you as their teacher. And lucky to get NY pizza.

Sorry to learn that you're tired. Fatigue comes with the classroom assignment for some people. Others find ways to smile and mean it in any classroom. I'm sure you already know this. I hope you find ways to share your smiles online as well as in your classroom. Some of us read blogs to learn how to smile in situations in which we have not yet learned to smile. Best wishes to you and your students.

I'm in grad school this year, but three of the last five years, I taught middle school math, and I know exactly how you feel! In fact, I couldn't have put it better.

I really hate what the state tests do to teaching, to the teachers, and to the students. There is no way that a 50 question multiple choice test can measure all I taught in a school year or all they learned.

I truly love teaching math, and I don't want to do anything else, but I can't help but cast an envious eye toward teachers who teach subjects that don't fall under the ominous "state test" umbrella, who still have freedom to use their class time to teach their students to think and explore instead of just drill, drill, drill.

There must be a better way!!

To those people who have decided to test, test, test, have you ever thought that giving too many tests will just burn these kids. They are becoming immune to the testing. Many don't care. What I have seen is that they see the tests results as a number, so what? Intensive reading, intensive math? So what? I remember how I studied for the finals. What happened to those? They have become another test? I think these tests are really to evaluate the teacher. Administrators should be evaluated them, not a test. Instead, allow the teacher to use her creativity and her love for teaching to motivate her students to enjoy learning. I feel something is going to give, and it's sad that it is the students' attitude towards tests and the results that is taking away their desire to learn, and their curiosity about the world.

A quote that I read somewhere sums up my attitude towards all this emphasis nowadays on high-stakes achievement testing: Not everything that matters is tested, and not everything that is tested matters.

Jessica, I am reading your post in May, after school has let out and our state test results have been released. We had most of March, all of April and most of May to catch up on everything that we couldn't do leading up to the tests. There were field trips, plays, and then there was fifth grade graduation. It was too much, but it isn't allowed before the test, so it is all crammed into the end. Then the results come in and it is such an emotional rollercoaster. Why did she get a 4 in science when she never showed any interest or effort in science the whole year? Why did he get a 2 in math when he was my top math student? I can't stand it! This is not the way that I imagined teaching to be when I received my bachelors degree in education three years ago. Now, as I work on my masters and we are planning creative units, I feel as though universities are not presenting a real picture of the pressures and expectations in schools today.

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Recent Comments

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