Archive for April, 2009

Testing, Testing

Well, I have had enough testing for this entire year. The past two weeks have been state standardized testing for our school. This is the time of year that teachers begin to pull their hair out worrying whether or not they taught the right stuff. We don’t worry about if what we taught was important when it comes to helping our students become lifelong learners, but we worry if we spent enough time teaching the specific items the students will be tested on this year. I would like to step onto a soapbox for a moment about state testing…
Every year as we prepare for testing we spend time reviewing test taking strategies for the kids. What I don’t like is all the stupid rules that go along with taking the test. We teach the kids to narrow down their choices by crossing out the two least likely answer (think 50/50 on Millionaire), but when it comes time to take the test they can’t because the computer might misread the marks. The thing that bothers me the most though is that they can’t use their resources. The whole year I have taught my students that if they don’t know something to use the resources around them. My fourth graders are skilled at looking up words in the dictionary or finding synonyms in a thesaurus, they even know how to use kid friendly search engines to look up information. Yet on the state testing if they don’t know a word, they can’t look it up. I can only tell them the word, I can’t tell them the meaning. It bothers me that in any other every day situation if they didn’t know a word they could look it up to find the answer, shoot nowadays they could look it up on their cell phones. In any event, I don’t find out how my students did until September….big help.

no-child-left-behind

On a related note check out my friend Jamee’s post about testing (while you’re there check out the gross placenta post).  I stole the picture above from her
On another testing front, just 2 days after my students finished their testing I had to go in on a Saturday morning to take the GRE. I had to drive to a center that was about 1 hour 15 minutes away. Luckily, my dear friends Kelly and Ryan happen to live in the same city as the center. They graciously allowed me to stay at their house the night before so I could sleep a little later. I have to say that I freaked out a bit about this test. Luckily my boyfriend is a math genius and he retaught me a lot of the math that I learned in high school and then forgot about 15 minutes after receiving my diploma. He was very patient with me as I threw my little tantrums. He even called me the morning of the test to wish me luck. Well, wouldn’t you know it, I scored better on the math than the verbal. I got the scores I needed to get into the graduate program I wanted. Now, testing is over and I can start teaching the things that I enjoy teaching, the way I enjoy teaching them, because I don’t have to worry about getting all the certain skills in before testing. So bring on the baseball math webquest, the giant Civil War project and the novel studies we are going to rock the last 26 days of school. Heck yeah, I’m counting down, I’m only human…