Test Day #sol19
April 23, 2019
Today is state test day for the third graders. I would like to say that it’s just one piece of data. I would like to say that it’s insignificant to my work, our work. I would like to say that I haven’t been thinking about how the students will do. I cannot.
I’ve been thinking about test day for over a month. Every literary essay we craft with the students makes me consider if we’ve helped them own the narrative tasks. Every time they misstep in character work or parts of speech or planning for writing makes me consider every way I’ve coached teachers and students in literacy.
If you asked me outright, I would say that what I see in student writing, in independent thinking, in character analysis by NINE YEAR OLDS has been nothing short of amazing. Yet, on the practice test, they asked the students to write a story from the perspective of a rat instead of a snake and they were thrown. I understand the test creators may ask point of view questions for students to show how they understand character development in relationship to stories. Perhaps the students are thrown because the stories are not as complicated as the ones they read every day.
As I arrived at school, I realized that we worry about the state tests a few days coming up to them, on the day as student ( and their parents) react to them, and on the day that the scores arrive. These tests are our currently reality. We should think about how questions are asked of students and how students respond to them. We also should continue to teach literacy in the context of life skills and citizenship, connections and inferences, deep thought and collaborative talk.
I hope that all we as a staff have facilitated for our students will shine in these assessments. However, if it doesn’t, perhaps we should consider not just our presentation, but the test design. Allowing ourself time to teach students how they will be tested now and throughout life. Contemplating how to respond to tests and how to succeed.
For now, I wish all of us a peaceful, productive day.