I’m right in the middle of our winter break, and I must say, it’s nice to not have to get up and go to school. This year has not been fun, or nearly as fulfilling as teaching has normally been for me. Generally, I love the kids and my job. But between the effects of the slow economy and the “reform” that’s being pushed down, the job is changing and I don’t think in a good way. More kids, less help. Always more testing, like that will somehow fix everything. I said that I wanted to keep track this year of just how much time is taken away from actual instruction by all of the testing. In kindergarten there are few tests that can be given whole group, or even in small groups for that matter. Most of what I need to evaluate needs to be done one-on-one. So any test, is going to take away from instruction time.
The main test we have to give is aligned to the Common Core State Standards and is given this year four times in kindergarten, and three times in each of the other grades. We have to give it at the beginning of the year in kindergarten because they want a base line. Ultimately this is leading up to individual teacher accountability. In theory. Other grades have previous year data to compare to. Kinder does not. We have been in school now for about 75 days. Administering the test along with Dibels, and mClass Math, took about five weeks at the beginning and at the end of the first marking period the CCSS test took about two and a half weeks. So in 15 weeks of instruction, I’ve tested for about half of the time. In January, we do Dibels again and start progress monitoring.
It wouldn’t be so bad if we had aides, or even some help with substitutes while we tested, but the economy has cut out any funding that might have paid for the help. I could get so much more done with my class if I didn’t have to spend so much time testing. They didn’t add the testing time onto our time, they took it away from instruction time.