Monthly Archives: June 2010

Testing Blues

I’ve probably ranted about this before. We test every single quarter. Last quarter students were taking the MCA high stakes tests. They were mostly done on paper but next year they’ll be on computers. The other 3 quarters students take MAP tests. Unlike the MCAs, which are summative, the MAP tests are formative and provide good, quick feedback so teachers can see when a student is having trouble before it gets to be a crisis.

Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying there shouldn’t be any tests. In fact, I use the MAP scores as one way of determining seating arrangements. But do we really have to have a test every single quarter? Since the tests are administered in the library computer lab, I lose almost an entire quarter of instructional time each year. My colleague and close friend schedules the tests but usually I don’t know early enough to plan my way around it. I make do the best I can. I go to the classrooms with a cart of books. I try to deliver a lesson in the classroom and then check out books from the cart. It’s a tiring hauling everything around and I’m not able to teach all the things I need to teach, especially when I don’t have access to computers.

I really want 4th and 5th grade students to evaluate websites. The 3rd graders were having such a hard time logging in that I developed a lesson plan so they can practice that and get some practice on Word in the process. The kindergartners need to learn how to log in and be able to do a simple catalog search by the end of the quarter. I don’t remember now what the 1st and 2nd graders were going to do but it was going to be on computer. I feel like I have to cram all my teaching this quarter into the month of July

Certainly I’ve had students on the computers during the other 3 quarters but I haven’t had an entire quarter to concentrate on it because at some point my classes lose that computer access to testing. What would a classroom teacher do if they were told that they could not teach in their classroom or use the resources there for 2 or 3 weeks every quarter?