I don’t think anyone has an issue with some sort of standards for education. High standards with high expectations are important. The question is which standards. To go with this children take a LOT of tests. We’ve all heard of the BIG annual spring test (SBAC or PARCC) but we may not pay much attention to “benchmark” tests. The following are the comments and thoughts of a 3rd grade teacher (no school district identified). We all feel bad when a child struggles in any endeavor. Give a read. > > > >
My heart broke today ? as I watched a child, my 3rd grade student, who had been taking this benchmark for an hour & was only on question 8- lay his head on his table in defeat. He then wrote the words “bad job” on his scrap paper. At this point, I walked over, placed my hand on his back, knelt down beside his desk and asked him what was wrong. He said, “I’m just really frustrated. It’s so hard.” I responded… “Buddy, I know you are frustrated but I know what a strong reader you’ve become over the past 2 years and no matter what score you get, as long as it was your best, I’m going to be so proud of you.” With tears rolling down his face, I just hugged him and told him how wonderful he truly is.
It took him an hour and a half to finish the rest of this 35 question test. 2.5 hours that could have been spent working with him to improve his reading more, helping him to have more confidence in himself, & building a stronger relationship with him through lessons and activities that this test will never measure. But today, I lost 2.5 hours with this sweet boy who has the most contagious smile and laugh and the biggest heart. A student who works harder than any other student I’ve ever had. Who walks into the classroom first every morning laughing, “Hi. Ms Gravelle!” And who occasionally jokingly steals my candy & hides it around the room. This boy that was reading 43 words per minute at the beginning of year with only 88% accuracy and is now reading 60 wpm with 95% accuracy. The boy who was reading a level H at the beginning of 2nd and who recently read an N. The boy who could write 1 sentence in 30 minutes at the being of 2nd grade and now, at the middle of 3rd can write a paragraph or more.
Yet today, this sweet child was defeated by yet another paper-pencil-bubble sheet test. A test that measures a child ability to sit and concentrate on texts for an hour or more without moving, talking, reading, drinking-something this child fights everyday – the ability to stay focused.
However, I refuse to let him believe that this test well define him. Because he has the most amazing future ahead of him. His kindness, his work ethic, and his normal “can-do” attitude tells me more about his future than that test does.
To you tests…. I want to say, “Bye, Felicia!” But unfortunately, I cannot. So I will continue to give you, reluctantly, year after year… But I refuse to stoop to your level. Because my students are MUCH more than a number on a piece of paper.