Wednesday, May 21, 2008

High stakes testing... for 6 year olds

So it's nearing the end of the school year and I am spending most of my time in classroom testing. Testing... testing.. testing... the kids have become accustomed to not being able to ask me a question, show me their work, or even come near me when I have another student at my table. "Not now friend, I am testing." Poor kids.

Today they will have a substitute teacher so I can do even more testing in the comfort of the hallway.

These kids know they're expected to do well. They can see the difference between a check mark (correct) and any other mark (WRONG!). Some kids actually cringe when they see me write something other than a check mark. I try to reassure them that my notes are just for teachers and that they're doing a great job but they're too smart for that.

So here we are, giving our kids a battery of tests... one time asked, one-time response recorded. The results are sent along to their first grade teachers who may or may not even look at them. What bothers me the most (outside of the time it takes) is how the scores don't really reflect the kids' ability.

For instance, I have a kid who tests pretty well, but for a lack of an appropriate term, is a disaster in the classroom. He has mastered the one-on-one questioning about information disconnected from real life, but when he's asked to apply that knowledge he simply can't do it. I'm distressed that I have to send him on (it's his 2nd year in K).

Then I have another student who has simply blown me away with his progress. During Writing Workshop he makes letter-sound connections, stretches out his words, and is an active participant in all parts of the day. BUT, he's a terrible tester. When he gets one wrong, he gets nervous, then silly and bombs the rest. Sigh.

In both cases the scores for these kiddos do not reflect their true ability. Glad I am spending so much time administering it!

1 comment:

Jenny said...

Too true. Even more painful to think about at kindergarten though than it is a fifth grade. It almost makes me ill when I think about the sheer amount of time spent on testing.