Don we now our blank stare faces,
Troll this song my mind it chases,
What is that you ask? Those are the lyrics floating through my head all the days long as my students and I endure second trimester benchmark testing. And it really must be testing season if more than one of us are blogging about it.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not even all that against standardized testing. I think there is a lot value in these tests especially for many of my students who float back and forth between general education and my self-contained room. I firmly believe that another set of data points (despite the fact that representation of ability level is arguable) is always a good thing. More than their actual scores, I strive to look at their growth because moving on up, well, that’s all I ask.
To sum it up, this whole process was relatively painless for my first graders. My district is moving toward completely computerized benchmarks using NWEA. As students answer each question, the test responds to the student and adjusts the level of difficulty dynamically. However, the process was not completely painless for me because watching my students take the test and getting questions wrong that I knew they could do was pretty painful if you ask me.
My fifth grader didn’t have to take NWEA, but did have to sit through the district’s paper pencil benchmarks. This process was excruciatingly painful for the both of us, but he tried on most of it, so what more can I ask?
My third grader, on the other hand, had it the worst. He had to take NWEA and the paper pencil benchmarks. Poor kid. Poor proctor. Each of my students has accommodations to take standardized tests individually with a familiar proctor, which means I sit there with them the entire time no matter how long it takes and I’ve since realized that I’m just about the worst proctor on Earth. It takes everything I’ve got to stop myself from helping them, especially when my third grader says, “Let’s read together!” in the middle of his reading test entirely not understanding what a test is and looks up at me with big fawn eyes. Poor kid. Poor proctor. But these tests are the reality we’re faced with, and so it goes …
See the endless tests before us,
Strike the wrongs and join my chorus,
Bubble answers, high-five smile,
Sing this song just one more trial,