Tallying the latest testing etc.

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As I passed by the Principal’s office, I saw the many plastic boxes that will contain all of our PARCC materials. The Assistant Principal was running around on Friday attempting to manage MAP make-ups. Other coaches are finishing up AIMSWEB, although I am waiting for them to put their data in. I entered my data in this latest, standardized-test spreadsheet. I keep fearing that somehow I will have to put in the fluency data for which coaches, paraprofessionals and strangers have been pulling students out of class.

I will say we have managed this last attack of the test dragon with more efficiency. The administration obviously did a great deal of brainstorming and planning to pull this latest confluence of three standardized tests into a manageable chunk of time. Total whole-class time loss from testing itself was greatly reduced when AIMSWEB fluency was passed to outsiders, since fluency must be individually administered. Fluency cost me nearly a full day during the last testing round. We saved that day this time, although individual students all missed differing chunks of differing classes. MAP only took two days of student time with a bit of actual instruction thrown into off times. I will estimate total student time loss to MAP and AIMSWEB at about three days. The actual numbers are less than that but, as I have noted before, the stress of MAP testing tends to leave students pretty wrecked during those parts of the MAP day when they are not testing. I am counting each MAP day as a full day lost. AIMSWEB has less effect since this test is given in small time chunks and we were giving this test later in the day. Total time might be calculated for the two tests to be more like two and one-half days, except for the impact of make-ups. On Friday, five of my students were taken from class for make-ups. Other make-ups for AIMSWEB tests have been worked into class periods. These make-ups force rearrangement of instruction toward review and away from new material. When five students are pulled from a class, that class time might as well be considered lost.

The above tallies represent student time lost. My time loss has to include evenings of grading AIMSWEB and SLOs (except I didn’t — see the earlier post). Administration must also have been losing a great deal of time. They have to plan all this testing and, due to our internet connectivity issues, that planning is complex. If we had the computers and bandwidth, we could do PARCC in only a couple of days, but we are forced to test grade by grade and then work out the make-ups for the different grades. PARCC will only take a couple of my days next week, but administration will be dealing with PARCC for more than a week, as each grade takes its two days and then any required make-up time.

Eduhonesty: Total time loss by my students from this third group of AIMSWEB, MAP and PARCC testing will be about 5 days — or 1/36th of the school year — from only one of the three testing periods of this year. Apologists might try to present lower numbers, taking only the time of actual test sessions, but a morning of state standardized testing guarantees an afternoon of squirreliness so I am counting the mega-tests of MAP and PARCC as full days lost.

My numbers don’t include required tests written by an outside consulting firm that I am required to give — whether those tests are pedagogically appropriate or not. I have one of those tests scheduled for next week too. My students are testing almost all of next week. I can only assume the officials demanding all these tests have been dipping into the squirrel stash a bit too often.

Ummm… aren’t we supposed to teach them sometimes, too?