Fair warning: I am complaining. AND YOU WILL SEE A LOT OF CAPITAL LETTERS. Right now, I just have to get my frustration out. Later, I will try to actually put this into words and form some kind of valid idea as to how we can fix the issues.
If you have been in public education as a student or educator at all in the last 10-15 years, you probably know about the influx of testing requirements of our students.
This year, probably because I had been out of the school system and back to being a student for a few years, I had forgotten about all the testing. But no longer.
Every year in mid-October, schools are required to administer the PSAT to 10th graders (and maybe 11th graders? I can’t remember) starting in the morning. I think I was once told it had to start when school starts, but I could be making that up.
Either way, we started at 7:15 am. AND DIDN’T END THE PSAT UNTIL 11:15.
THAT’S ALMOST 45 MINUTES INTO THIRD PERIOD.
And then we just went on with our day, and had a shortened 3rd period and regular 4th period. During the test, 9th graders sat in a room and did nothing while a group of teachers babysat them. I don’t even know what the seniors did, but I assume it was something along those lines. At my old school, the whole school stayed in their 1st periods until the test was over, and only teachers with 1st period planning administered the test. WHICH MEANS THAT SOME TEACHERS ONLY HAD 1 CLASS AND SOME CHANGE OF ANOTHER, THEN GOT A PLANNING PERIOD, WHILE OTHER TEACHERS LOST THEIR PLANNING PERIODS AND STILL HAD CLASSES TO TEACH THE REMAINDER OF THE DAY. This sort of happened at this school, too. Most teachers were asked to be somewhere or proctor or administer a test during the testing period, but some lost planning time to do this, while others had 4th period planning and therefore only taught about for an hour and some change.
Oh. EXCEPT FOR THE PART WHERE THE STUDENTS WENT TO LUNCH DURING THAT PERIOD SO REALLY IT WAS ONLY LIKE HALF AN HOUR.
Tomorrow, we are administering the PLAN. I’ve never actually done this one. Or heard of it for that matter. But we have EXACTLY THE SAME PLAN FOR THIS DAY AS WE DID FOR THE PSAT. WHICH MEANS THAT TWICE IN FIVE SCHOOL DAYS, STUDENTS ARE ALL MISSING THEIR FIRST AND SECOND PERIODS, GETTING A SHORTENED THIRD PERIOD, AND HAVING A REGULAR FOURTH PERIOD.
We did try to save time by having the students bubble in their names and addresses and such last week, WHEN WE TOOK THEM OUT OF THEIR CLASSES TO SPEND TIME DOING THAT INSTEAD. To make sure we don’t cut into as much class time tomorrow obviously.
IT ALL MAKES PERFECT SENSE. CAN’T YOU SEE?
Don’t worry. We are also doing midterm exams, which teachers were informed they were required to do exactly one week before we started them. And I just can’t wait until we get to the 10th grade Writing Test and all the EOCs.
And the ESL teacher keeps requisitioning Media Center space, without any prior notice, to test ESL students. BY TAKING THEM OUT OF THEIR CLASSES. AGAIN. How is taking an ESL student out of a class to test them going to help them? I’m serious. How?
Oh. Did I mention that only one student from my school opted to take the SAT last year? ONE.
We are obviously doing something right.
Never mind, I know what my valid idea to fix this is. LESS TESTING. The students get nothing out of it.
UPDATE from many weeks later: I know these are requirements that administrators, special area teachers (like ESL), and others are just meeting. I know it’s not their fault. I was just very frustrated on this day. I understand that students (and teachers) need some accountability. My problem lies in over-testing. Of course, we didn’t reach 80% of our students passing the second test they took in one week; most of them slept through it because they were burnt out from the first 3 hour long multiple choice test they took. There just has to be a better way.