Time, time, time…

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One of my colleagues made the following discouraging observation this afternoon:

“Between ACCESS, ISATs and MAP tests, I feel like we’ve pretty much lost the whole quarter.”

We’ve had three standardized tests in the space of a couple of months. It’s too much. ISATs are going on right now and that’s four days lost directly, not including all the time devoted to getting ready and to assemblies and pep talks. We end up with a couple of hours free in the afternoon, but they are crispy critters by that time, their brains toasted. As usual during a standardized testing period, the school is edgy and the Dean is inundated with disciplinary demands.

When counting the days lost, it’s vital to understand that a morning of testing is effectively a day lost. Students are used up by the end of two sessions of state testing. Behavioral issues abound.

Eduhonesty: Yes, we need testing. Yes, we need measures of performance. But we also need to consider the opportunity cost of our testing. What are we not teaching while we are testing?

I truly don’t understand why we need more than 6 of our 180 days for testing. We should test once in September to find out what they know and once in late April or May to find out what they learned. Testing for language skills of English language learners should last no more than one day at the end of each year. That would be about 4% of the school year. As it is, some districts are testing over 20 days — which is over 10% of the year and frankly ridiculous.