Sunday, April 19, 2015

Testing Redux. Just Go Climbing.

Even though the front page of the Wisconsin State Journal included quotes and personal experiences about standardized testing and my family, and even though it's considered a "movement" that my family is a part of, I'm over it for now.

Along with my colleagues we've been inundated with training, test protocols, updates, and directives.  Now that I just finished a week of Badger Exam testing, I have new feelings - not to mention new thoughts, about the entire experience.


what it looks like
One is emotional.  The week prior to testing, my teaching partners and I told the kids with high absenteeism and/or tardies that "it's important you come to school every day for testing."  It kills me that even though in the past, I've strongly encouraged them to be on time and attend school (only to be met with no change or inconsistent efforts), do you know those select kids came to school every single day last week and on time. Psyched they came but also confused.  Why did their attendance behavior effort show up due to testing?  I mean, there was a small incentive but these particular kids would be unfazed by it. 

Related to this were my silent and open rah rahs.  My investment in my students doing their best was amped - I would be disingenuous if I did not admit to feeling concerned that their efforts and outcomes reflect on my teaching.  I swear I did more hugging and gave more contrived compliments in those 2 hour periods than what is typical for me.  You know what that tells me?   It tells me I'm worried.

But the flip side is I feel affirmed.  I looked at just about every ELA test question and know I taught the related standard.  At the same time, I cringed when I watched more than once, and more than one  student select an incorrect answer.  And I couldn't help hearing the silent slightly annoyed mutterings going on in my head: WTF? You proved you knew that skill when assessed in my classroom! 


When you're in the thick of it as a teacher and a parent you're trying to decide what is best for the good of students and teachers, while considering the broader mission.  I find it despairing.  The truth is there are other things I'd like to get my hands on that align with the opt out movement, and in my reality, are more important to address, such as why are grades reported on several sheets of paper as standards, but then on the last page, those standards are converted to letter grades?  Why do my kids teachers use percentages as final scores when we are supposed to be using standard based grading?  Who benefits from these incomplete and inconsistent and inaccurate measures of achievement?

#noonedoes #absurd #shortonpatience 

Okay I'm done and moving on.  I have a favorite cookie I discovered for all of you living here in Madison - it's the oatmeal-raison w/flak seeds at Java Cat.  In other news, I found storage space on my iphone, I'm obsessed with Wu Tang Clan's album A Better Tomorrow, and can't wait for Ana Tijoux's concert tomorrow.  Here are a few documented highlights of my week . . . 

push up challenge #twoonfleek

why i still teach


my dependable spotter

warming up
fun boulder


So much to do, so much light now that it's spring which means we all should just go climbing. 

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