Sunday, April 21, 2013

On the eve of STAAR

Tomorrow begins STAAR testing week. And I am dreading it. Not because I have to actively monitor a 4 hour test. Nor because the daily schedule will be mixed up so that the kids are completely out of sorts. But because I think the test is a false measure of what my kids know. Because my third graders still have 6 weeks to make progress. Because they shouldn't have to take a test that is more fitting to a 5th or 6th grader. Because the students I have grown to love and care about are nervous about taking a standardized test for the first time and I know they won't get the rest they need.

My own third grader seems a little oblivious to the fact that he has a big test to take. He knows it will be hard and he just doesn't show much emotion about it. Maybe that will change tomorrow. Maybe not. I can only hope that these days pass in the blurr that they are.

All week I have been seeing articles about state testing and how inappropriate it is and I know it will always be here. That makes me sad. Because I know that having a high stakes test promotes poor, narrowly focused teaching in order to make a score. Because accountability in the test falls on teachers, schools, prinicipals, and districts and not the students themselves. And I know that as long as a company can make money producing tests for an entire state or nation, it will be in their best interests to listen to the people with the money, and that is not the teachers who understand how education works. It makes me sad.

So I'm going to head into this week with an attitude of love, caring, and survival. And when it is finished, I will get back to the real business of teaching students life skills that are not scored on a bubble sheet.


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