Winter Break

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.

3 thoughts on “Winter Break

  1. I hope you don’t give this anymore thought while you’re on vacation. You deserve, and more importantly NEED, a break from this insanity!

    I hope 2012 brings you much health and happiness.

  2. Can’t help agreeing with you . . . .isn’t it sad? The test/assess mentality is absurd! I love teaching /// not testing! Hope your return to begin the next new year is great! Mine has started out with a nice pace — focused children, and mild winter weather. We jump into conferences this month so I’m aware that the testing /assessing is going to be in full swing. Good luck! You do a great job, and you DO inspire others. Thanks!

  3. If it were true that all this testing in kindergarten was about helping students the testing would have disappeared long ago. Why? Because tests of progress down the road have shown little or no improvement. If it actually helped kids to begin reading/writing/math instruction the way we do in kindergarten, you’d see HUGE jumps in test scores later in elementary and high school. Otherwise they’re simply not worth the trouble and expense we are put to.

    The real and only reason for testing in kindergarten is to frustrate veteran teachers and get them out of the system to be replaced by younger, replaceable teachers who don’t know in their bones what kindergarten used to— and ought to—be about: the health and well-being of whole children.

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