Friday, November 16, 2012

Testing Us All

Administering a standardized test to first graders is as painful as it sounds. On Wednesday we did a little bit of prep so they had some idea of what to expect and what to do. Thursday morning was the main event.

I set my kiddos up all around the room to give them each enough space. Passed out the test books and freshly sharpened pencils. Read the directions and went through the sample questions. So far, so (mostly) good.

The test is non-verbal and timed. Both positive things for first graders. My role was to make sure students didn't skip questions and that they were quiet throughout. Both were a challenge.

One little friend (about whom I already have so many stories) talked to himself throughout the entire 30 minutes (shockingly he was the only one who didn't finish all the questions). I mostly tried to keep him at a whisper but did have to crack down when he actually called out to the girl closest to him. He can't not talk to save his life. I believe if he were standing behind a lion he would still not be able to be silent. (This lion has no sense of smell, obviously, or the talking thing would be irrelevant.)

When kiddos finished we checked to be sure they had an answer for every question and then gave them their book box, with a reminder to remain silent. First graders with boxes full of Mo Willems, Froggy, and Jan Thomas books can't be silent. No matter how hard they try. 

I worry about what all this testing is doing to our children. I genuinely have concerns about that. But right now, I'm much more worried about what it's doing to the teachers. My whole team was wiped out after administering a half hour test. It is absurd.

2 comments:

Angel Read said...

I can't believe first graders have to take standardized tests now! I am not sure if they do it at my school, but I wouldn't be surprised. Trying to get first graders to be quiet and somber is a pretty huge task, and not really fair to anyone!

C.B. James said...

My district is moving to all computer based testing. Imagine the first graders all sitting in the computer lab, ready to begin the test.

I can't imagine it eaither.