In our district, we do a series of tests three times a year, at the beginning, the middle and again at the end. These tests are supposed to be aligned with the state standards and the stated purpose of the tests is help drive instruction (whatever THAT is supposed to mean, I mean it SOUNDS nice, but reality has a funny way of poking its face into things….). The district has these testing windows on the master calendar for different tests and you are supposed to give the appropriate tests sometime within the window. The mid year window opened on February 4th. It ends this Friday (as in tomorrow). SOMEBODY decided to hold the tests until yesterday and give us three days to complete them. Fine.
Yesterday before school, the AP got on the intercom and announced that she was opening the testing closet to check out tests, and when we got there, we were told to never-mind what we were previously told, we had yesterday and today to finish the tests, NOT THREE DAYS as previously explained. Kinder and 1st Grade generously had until the end of the day today to turn ours in, after all, we needed a little extra time since we had to transfer all of the children’s scores to the scantrons since they marked their answers directly in the testing booklets, oh, and on the language arts part, grade them all on the different rubrics first so that they could be put on the scantron sheets. 2nd Grade and up were supposed to have them turned in by noon since the kids did their own scantron sheets. I did NOTHING but test for the last two days, no language arts, no math, no social studies, no health, no small group interventions. Instead, I tested 5-7 kids at a time while the rest of them did a mountain of worksheets (which at the end of the day today, I tossed in the trash on my way out the door). Of course, now I’m two days off on my pacing calendars for Language Arts and Math………… (oh yeah, they goofed up the math pacing calendar and didn’t align it correctly with the tests, so some of the material on the tests either hasn’t been covered yet, or was covered a LONG time ago, if we did the built-in-to-the – program spiral review, that wouldn’t be so bad, but somebody decided we needed to skip around in the new math program and teach the material in a different order, so you can’t do the provided spiral review because frequently the spiral review covers stuff you haven’t taught yet………..)
Then there’s the actual tests.
I mean, who writes these things? For example, on the Language Arts part of the test, there is a page with a pictograph (never mind that we haven’t done graphing yet, even in math and kindergarten kids always have trouble with graphs anyway). One of the things they wanted the kids to do was to circle the title of the graph. First, they can’t READ it, and second the title of the graph wasn’t the only part of the graph with words they couldn’t read, third, the only context we have ever talked about titles has been with books, as in, “Where is the title of this book?” “Where does it say who the author and illustrator are?”
On the math part, they were asking about ordinal numbers and they had pictures of objects in line and the kids were supposed to identify the first, second and third things in line. But instead of just circling the objects, they had to find the corresponding object labelled a, b, c, and d below the picture and circle the answer there. The answers below were not in the same order, and some of the kids were marking, the first, second or third answer choice even though it didn’t match the corresponding location in the illustration. Kindergarten kids are literal that way.
Maybe with all the budget cuts and difficult times ahead, they’ll put SOME people back in the classroom(not that that would necessarily be a good thing). You know, the ones sitting at desks somewhere that think all this stuff up…………
Naw, that would make too much sense.