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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Standardized Testing
Posted by on in General

Today, the first day after the state writing test, was a day of decompressing, reflecting, and celebrating.  I began each class with my assessment of how I thought the day had gone.

“I’m not allowed to read your work,” I explained.  “None of us are.  But all of your teachers spent the entire day circulating through our classrooms and making sure that all of you were on task.  Let me tell you, our feet are tired.”

I paused for a moment and then continued, “I was so impressed that you listened to me and that you all filled those giant four-squares to the max!  Hallelujah!  We all were impressed.  Truthfully, none of us have ever seen kids spend so much time planning, writing, and revising a rough draft!  There is simply no way your scores can be low!  I am so proud of you!”

Marni raised her hand.  “Mr. Ramsey, you turned some really awful writers into great writers!”

“Thank you,” I replied.  “But you all were already good writers.  That little seed of creativity was buried inside of you.  It just needed a little attention and time.”

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Posted by on in General

 26 standardized full

The first day of this year's state testing is tomorrow. I know I shouldn't be nervous, especially after being a teacher all these years, but I am. Our first test is writing and, of course, the weight of the first assessment is on my shoulders since I am the writing teacher. 

I've worked hard to teach my seventh graders, and I know they have worked hard also (well, most of them). I love reading their work and really can see a big difference from when they were with me in fifth grade. Two years with me - I hope I've done them justice.

Today was my last day to practice with them, and I tried to review every possible thing I could. I reviewed the state writing rubric (for the 100th time), and I reminded the kids that I've been using it all year long to grade their work. I talked about playing the game right and how to get the most points possible. 

Sal sighed and said, "Mr. Ramsey, I'm really nervous. I'll try to do my best."

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Posted by on in Education Leadership

Just my Opinion, but….

JUST SAY NO to standardized testing. It’s time. Right before elections it’s turning into a political football, local, state and federal. At the national level, the leap to ‘for profit’ schools, slaps us into the face of reality.

Tests. Lower the bar, fix or dump the tests? A conundrum. Is the bar too high? If no kids can reach that bar, what’s next? Same thing, same results, right? Or what? Is this the way to judge schools, teachers and children’s future success in our changing landscape? Does rigor insure academic success? I think not.

Something is more than a little off kilter, the ship is going out to sea in the wrong direction. In fact, we are bailing water out of this boat. New ship needed! Let’s stop being on the Titanic, rearranging deck chairs.

Because I am an optimistic person by nature, and always see the good in things, or nearly, I am confident we can turn the tide here, as a collective voice. Because policy makers usually have not been teachers, or even spent any time in a classroom, the new wave of teacher educators running for political office at all levels is heartening.

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Posted by on in Assessment

standardized test

Today was our second of four days testing kids.  Keep in mind that this is only the ninth day of the new school year. 

I know that teachers must have an idea of the abilities and skills of their students in order to proceed with appropriate instruction during the year.  But, with the number of times the computers froze and crashed, with the rising levels of student frustration and burn-out, and with the disruption to the regular school day, exactly how reliable are the results of this round of assessment truly going to be? 

This will probably be viewed as heresy by those teachers and administrators groomed in an era proud of the art of “drilling down” through data, but I’m going to be honest:  Most large-scale assessments are not an accurate assessment of the ability of our children. 

One would think that a person who has been in the profession for more than three decades – fifteen of those years as a school administrator – would be joyfully embracing the overabundant piles of data points gleaned from each onslaught of testing.  But, at the risk of sounding like an old codger, I proudly assert that there are much better ways to know what our students are capable of doing. 

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Posted by on in Assessment

standardized test

Don't show Mama Our Nation's Report Card. Not so good. 

Tonight I'm sharing my opinions, not a major statistical treatise, but I will toss some information into the bowl, like Strega Nona, and let's mix it up, and put a little honey on top. 

Tonight I offer heartfelt, plain talk about yesterday's shocking headlines, or not so, really, that our kids have failed. Or at least, didn't show any growth in fourth and eighth grade reading. Goodness. Yet here we are in America, right in the middle of endless standardized testing.

Now this. Drat. Flat scores. The sideways. Up scores, like Florida. Down, like second language learners and special needs labeled students.

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