Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The Standardized Slump

Welcome to The Mumble Mumble Mumble *yawn* Is it over yet?

Ah, friends, friends. It's Standardized Testing Season.

Last week was spring break at my school. The week before that was PARCC testing. If you don't know what PARCC stands for, it's Perfectly Awful Repugnant Corrupt Claptrap. My students have to sit through this every year, and they've done it every year of their lives.

Our current incarnation of standardized testing is so evil that teachers are not allowed to look at it at all. We can't so much as glance across a student's shoulder, let alone point out an errant comma. Students themselves are not to be trusted either. All cell phones are silenced and collected. Students have to sign a pledge that they don't have their phone. Students must be escorted to the bathroom, and only one student is allowed in the bathroom at a time.We wouldn't want anyone to give anyone else an answer, now would we?

Except, if that's the case, why is so much emphasis put on group work in the classroom?

This year my students endured three math tests of 90 minutes apiece and four language arts tests, two 90-minute and two 110-minute. Can someone add this up for me? How many hours is that? I keep wanting to say more than ten hours, but my brain won't let me. Clearly I wouldn't have a prayer of passing those math units!

Anyway, most of our testing occurred before the break. But today -- Tuesday -- on the second day back from break, we had one final 110-minute language arts unit.

It was raining outside.

The testing is done on chrome books. Testing began at 8:00 a.m.

Within the first 40 minutes, half the kids had fallen asleep. By 60 minutes, the slumber was universal. Even yours truly, the proctor, had to pinch herself to stay awake.

How many posts have I written on this wretched subject?

Back in the previous century, I had to take a high school proficiency test. It consisted of balancing a checkbook, using a train table, and following the directions to bake a cake. There might have been a short story and a couple of easy math problems. I particularly remember the train schedule and the checkbook.

Now, students taking the PARCC test have to write three whole essays based on long-winded passages of "classical" literature, much of it from across the pond. Need I say how unfair this is to urban youngsters of color? Nah, you already know.

I've been asleep on my feet since 8:00 this morning, so it's time to hit the sack. Like a ton of bricks. With sweet dreams of a world without standardized testing, where students are judged on their unique and particular abilities. On the content of their characters.

Good night!


anne marie in philly said...

the kids are being short-changed, the teachers are burning out at a faster rate, and we are a nation of donald dump dick-licking idiots. goddess help us!

Ol'Buzzard said...

these required test miss the point that all demographics and cultures and students are not the same and a 'one size fits all' type of test is culturally biased.
My wife and I taught school in the Indian and Eskimo villages of Alaska for eleven years... these test were devastating and ended up keeping many smart and intelligent children from more productive lives.
the Ol'Buzzard

Debi said...

Is this just for a chosen few? Bravo for those who succeed during that, They will be over qualified for current political office, but could be useful after its demise! You are teaching endurance ! Up here we have literacy and math testing in selected levels of education. Check up on curriculum and teaching I suppose. As we both may know, it's the difficult student who has promise! Wink, Wink! xoDebi

Jono said...

It is nearly 11 hour (10.8) worth of testing to what end? It is probably a better measure of the kids' tolerance for stress and their mental endurance rather than actual knowledge.


no wonder our kids are dumb..this sucks..
I learned how to do all those things you mentioned in school..write a check, follow directions in a recipe, put in a zipper, set the table and wood shop..damn I loved woodshop.

Davoh said...

Um, apparently the local Aussie Feds seen to think it important to give a billion or so "loan" from taxpayers money to an Entrepreneur from India fer a vast coal mine in one of Australia's fertile agriculural valleys ...

Meanwhile ... Aussie Universities "up their fees" and require local citizens to 'sign on to $50,000' debt.