Sunday, May 24, 2009

Do They Know?

I heard a colleague and friend of mine, a fifth grade teacher, comment to another in passing it was her least favorite day of the school year Friday. This past Friday marked the end of the first round of the NC End of Grade Tests, and the results were back. Teachers conducted one-on-one conferences with their students to share their results, and followed up with phone calls to their parents. 
In the last two posts I've discussed thoughts about our effectiveness as educators, and the mind set pertaining to whether standardized testing results tell us if we've prepared students to be lifelong learners, to think critically, creatively, and work cooperatively. As I left school Friday afternoon I fully understood where my colleague was mentally and emotionally. The push to get to and through EOG testing was draining enough, and pouring over the results was mind-numbing. I have questions.
Do those who set assessment policy know...
  • what kind of pressure teachers put on themselves in preparation for these tests?
  • how much time is spent on "assessment," and the preparation for it, rather than actual teaching?
  • how much school personnel are reconfigured and school-wide routines disrupted?
  • how much principals, assistant principals, and curriculum coordinators worry? 
  • what kind of stress students exhibit during this period (sometimes to the point of illness)?
  • that at no other time do we ask students to sit still and perfectly silent for long periods, an environment almost totally foreign to them and "uncomfortable?" 
  • how many teardrops fall, sometimes even before students hear their actual results?
  • how much impact this process has on students' feelings of efficacy (both positive and negative)?
Just asking the questions?

1 comment:

  1. I think this sounds like a good letter to the editor and to those who set assessment policies. :)