Set the Example

@mr_brett_clark 1 Comments

I was on my way to school this morning just thinking about the upcoming semester.  I found myself thinking about all the things teachers have to get done between now and May.  I work in a K-8 school, so I see everything thing from DIBELS to Acuity to ISTEP.  I started thinking about all the times I was going to think and hear teachers say something about students being tested to death.

Then a thought hit me, who gives more test throughout the year, teachers or the state?  I honestly don't see the state backing off on the number of test they require in a year.  A teacher has no control over the number of test the state requires them to take.  However, most teachers have control over the number of test they assign in their classroom.  

So, how about we as teachers set the example.  If we think students are being tested to death, then lets back off on the number of test we give in our classrooms and find other ways to assess our students.  Now I know what some of you are thinking..."I only give test to prepare them for the state exam." "I have grades to give and I use test to guide my teaching." In reality, we give test because it's tradition and most test are easy to grade.  

Unfortunately, we live in a testing environment and our students are being tested to death.  If you feel that way, then set the example and give your students a break.  

1 comment:

  1. I offer students an alternate assessment or project-type test. Students rarely take me up on the offer; however, it happens from time to time. When a student does complete an alternative assessment project, it usually inspires a few others to try. You can find my Alternative Assessment here.

    http://hcsc.schoolwires.net/219420114143146930/lib/219420114143146930/_files/alternative_assessments_option_throughout_year.pdf

    Also, I had students complete a free-for-all project for Indiana's Birthday.

    http://hoosierclassroom.blogspot.com/2011/12/happy-birthday-indiana.html

    I like to incorporate projects, which add a little personality to the final product.

    Aside from my little bit of narcissism listed above, I completely agree that we, as a nation, are testing entirely too much. Testing really got out of hand as a result of NCLB. If you haven't already, check out Tony Wagner's The Global Achievement Gap. He really makes a great argument against our inane testing systems.

    My school district used DIBELS and got away from it because it was causing students to care only for their Correct Words Per Minute rate. So, there was a lack of thinking and reading will expressive phrasing and fluency. Don't you think this mindless extra testing brings us further from raising test scores? (There was a great article from the Independent Reading Association on this mindless testing)

    In addition, we are causing more and more students to loath school. When have students ever shouted, "Yes! We have 3 hours of testing today! I really care about my score on this meaningless standardized test."

    We, as educators, need to promote thinking and a passion to become a life-long learner. With these tests, we are pushing them farther and farther away from education.

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