I started this yesterday, and it got way too long for a blog post - and I wasn't even a third of the way through all I wanted to say. So I will say less, include a few pictures, and leave it at that.
Getting ready for the WASL (Washington Assessment of Student Learning) started two weeks before we took the test. I was especially concerned about how well prepared my kids would be in math, using a "spiraling" curriculum. Then there was this number line fiasco.
Well, in my third grade classroom, nobody cried, and nobody threw up. But I wish you could have seen the terror on the faces I looked out on as we finally got ready to start. It continues to disturb me greatly, the impact of this ridiculous testing on our young people. If this is not abuse.....
I was not allowed to look at the tests or their answers. I was not allowed to tell my kids if they were doing well. If I saw somebody accidentally turn two pages and skip a page, I was not allowed to tell them. Gotta tell ya, it was like going to Pluto to take a test.
If the kids finished early (95+% of them did every day), I told them they could draw, period. With a pencil only, and only on 8.5x11 newsprint. I didn't want them hurrying through the test so they could get out their special markers or whatever, and have a really great time if they got done fast.
Towards the end of the week, I started putting up their "doodles" on a poster in the hallway outside our classroom. Some very interesting artwork was produced.
In the third grade WASL, kids take reading for 2 days and math for 2 days. In another attempt to salvage something from the experience, I asked them to write about the WASL. I gave them a little time to write each day after the test, and then I asked them to post all their thoughts from the 4 days of testing to their blogs on Friday.
Their writings about the WASL are all compiled on one page here. It's a pretty long page, and a few of the kids are experimenting with html formatting in a wysiwyg editor on classblogmesiter, but you'll get the idea.
And hey, I'm not the only teacher who pulls out snacks at testing time! Check Doug Noon's great piece on testing in his classroom. I think my kids had it all over some others, in terms of snack quality, but you'll have to read what they said.
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