Up at 4:00 AM (and more testing details)

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(If you are starting here, I suggest you backtrack to January 14th and read forward in time.)

Was I productive in the early morning hours? Well, let’s see. I did find and print a lesson for tomorrow’s tutoring time. I cleaned house. I contemplated doing laundry, but opted for procrastination. I checked my Facebook, read some email, and surfed.

I did not actually plan for school. I am too far behind to plan ahead. I had another day of ACCESS testing facing me with more schedule juggling and class rearrangement. Fortunately, I had materials from the common lesson plans that I could use in science and math. My colleagues are ahead of me since I have to give the ACCESS test to bilingual students while the other teachers can forge ahead with their day’s lessons. I will copy what these teachers did a couple of days ago. I will also be late in administering my tests this week, the normal Type III tests that I would give in a normal class that had not spent the last two weeks being clobbered by Type I tests.

What is a Type I test? Besides more educational jargon and gobbledygook, that is? Here’s the short answer from the Illinois State Board of Education table of Illinois Assessment Types:

Type I
A reliable assessment that measures a certain group or subset of students in the same manner with the same potential assessment items, is scored by a non-district entity, and is administered either statewide or beyond Illinois. These are your annual state tests, your MAP and ACCESS tests, the tests used to make national comparisons.

Type II
Any assessment developed or adopted and approved for use by the school district and used on a districtwide basis by all teachers in a given grade or subject area.

Type III
Any assessment that is rigorous, that is aligned to the course curriculum, and that the qualified evaluator and teacher determine measures student learning in that course

There’s a lot more legalese and law relating to these assessment types, especially in the area of teacher evaluation, but I’m not going there right now. Technically, my Type III tests are actually Type II tests, too, since all the teachers in my grade and subject area in the district are giving the same tests. Whatever, as the kids say. The math and science tests that are supposed to measure what I am actually teaching have been delayed because 1) I am too busy testing to be teaching much of the time, and 2) I am too busy giving Type I tests to students to give them Type III tests to assess them on the material I have not had time to teach them anyway.

Time today spent administering the Type I ACCESS test: 2.9 hours. I threw in about 7 minutes at the end of my first period since there’s little a teacher can do with only seven minutes that come at the end of a test. They were lost minutes, even if they did not count directly as test minutes.

Eduhonesty: I think the total Type I test time is up to something like 19.72 hours out of the last seven school days. If I count this as a percentage of instructional time, that’s 58% of all available instructional minutes during this seven day period. I’m pretty exhausted at this point and I will have to check my math later, but that 58% tally seems about right.

P. S. I hear some districts get subs for ACCESS testing, allowing instruction to go forward, even if imperfectly. I even heard our district may have gotten some subs. But subs seldom venture into the middle school. We are the no-man’s land of the district, a sea of hormonal adolescents surrounded by elementary schools filled with cute kids who may even hug the sub instead of talking back.