This morning I sat in a meeting about our upcoming state tests. Everyone who actually spends time in classroom with kids knows that these tests do not truly measure learning. But so many policy makers and people in power seem to think they are somehow reflective of what happens in schools. Once, someone sent me a meme that said:
If your job is to tell me how to do my job, shouldn’t you at least know how to do my job?
I’d really like to send this to the current secretary of education.
The rules that the testing overlords come up with are just so ridiculous. Now I love to read, but why is that only thing kids can do when they finish the test section? Is any kid seriously considering drawing pictures of the questions and answers that some other kid might happen to see? In my experience with fourth graders, they just want to draw pictures of rainbows and robots, not congruent angles.
And why must you immediately snatch the book out of a kid’s hands when they close it? Are they going to memorize the next day’s questions if they flip back through to find their page after using the bathroom? They’re likely not paying any attention.
The testing overlords have created a sense of terror in the teachers and administrators, which is then transferred to the students. I’m fairly certain that no epitaph on any gravestone in any state reads “HERE LIES JOE. HE DIED IN REGRET; NEVER GETTING PROFICIENT OR ADVANCED ON HIS STATE TESTS.”
It amazes me just how many specific rules exist- are these the result of cheating scandals or do the testing overlords sit around in a room competing to see whose rule is the most asinine? If it is the former, perhaps we need to take a look at why a school would feel compelled to cheat- I’d wager it stems more from fear than from disbelief in student abilities. If it’s the latter, then…get a hobby.
There are enough reasons to feel stressed and fearful in today’s world. Just turn on the news. Performance on a test that means nothing in the grand scheme of life is not something that should keep kids up at night. It is not something that should determine the worth of a teacher or the success of a school district. There is just not one benefit that comes from state testing in elementary schools, in my opinion.