(This post has too many acronyms. I’ll work on that shortly — no time! — but confused readers might go back to posts around January 14 or so of this year. That was the last round of mega-testing. Those posts will help. Still, I need to stop assuming everybody understands this alphabet soup. I promise — definitions tonight.)
Time dedicated to MAP on April 15th ran 160 minutes or 2 hours and 40 minutes. I clocked and blogged the time for the 16th because I had been administering the test, but neglected the 15th because another teacher had proctored that test. However, my students took the test both days, so they spent 5 hours and 20 minutes in direct MAP testing over those two days. They were also pulled out from my colleagues class for AIMSWEB fluency.
Testing at that level of intensity tends to fry most students, rendering them semi-useless for the rest of the day. So while testing on the 15th did not take place in my classroom, it certainly affected my classroom. They were tired and whiny, except for the few who were goofy. Especially during the last period of the day, students had trouble maintaining their focus. Math? Look it’s a fire truck! He’s going fast. Yeah, there was a car chase in my neighborhood last week. Like Fast and Furious. Please, let’s get back on task. Yeah, Ms. Q, do you know what they call those white cars? You know, the ones with the… Wow, that’s crazy. Yeah, he must’ve been going 70 MPH.
I kept calling straying kittens back into the pack. We worked on medians and relatively simple mathematical concepts. Science had been set up to allow for background music while taking notes, at least some of the time. I did my best to go forward while providing stress relief as I tried to neutralize the effect of fire trucks.
The woman pulling out students for AIMSWEB today came to get the last two from my homeroom, but one was suspended and the other absent. This latest round of testing is almost over. We are getting more efficient. Still, I have been grading AIMSWEB tonight. I have spent two and one-half hours grading AIMSWEB and I haven’t managed to grade actual tests that kids took in science. I’m caught up on their math quizzes except for the make-ups. Maybe I can do those early tomorrow. The kids want to see their tests, I’m sure, but I have to have the AIMSWEB data in the spreadsheet by the end of the week. I haven’t managed to do any planning for class tomorrow either. When I get up and look at the communal lesson plans early tomorrow, I hope they’re simple. They usually are. Anything that requires a great deal of set-up has generally been avoided this year. We are all grading AIMSWEB this week and some other teachers have more than twice as many students as I do.
Eduhonesty: I’ll add a few more notes. The Department Chair for yesterday’s meeting reminded us to be on time, noting that state observers were due in soon and will expect to see us all in our meetings on time. She pointed us to an email listing another testing responsibility; I have to go over the MAP results with my kids. I consider this last demand reasonable since giving the kids more information about the tests tests tests helps them to take those tests more seriously. They will try harder on MAP if they know what they are doing and why. Since this test is going into their permanent record, any strategy to make them take the test seriously represents a win. Still, that’s at least one more period lost. Our last MAP testing sucked up two days for six days total, or over 3% of the school year, not including all the MAP preparation and MAP dissection after the fact. Throw those aspects in and we will be above 4% but under 5%, I’d estimate. It’s difficult to tease out the exact number since some MAP prep activities are genuinely pedagogically usefully useful and I will not throw them into my count. Administrators might counter that actual, total test time runs less than that, but test time bleeds over into all the activities for the day.
That 3-4% only applies to MAP. We still don’t have AIMSWEB and PARCC in the picture, the other two standardized tests for the year. We don’t have all the required test-prep materials test designed to help improve test scores that turn up in my mailbox throughout the week, sucking up my tutoring time. I’ll try to get the numbers down for AIMSWEB, PARCC (one session left to go) and the SLO in the near future.
P.S. Fortunately, the lesson plans for today are exquisitely simple, using pages from the textbook. Before I forget, we also postponed a math quiz in acknowledgement of testing time requirements, so my grading is lighter than usual.