I spent another day in my daughter’s class today. There wasn’t much time for teaching since the teachers all needed to give online assessments for ELA. The students reviewed yesterday, they made goals, and were shown the score ranges for below basic, basic, proficient and advanced. These tests take up a great deal of time. They are monthly tests since the school is on the state watch list. Today the Internet didn’t work well. Students had to wait, and wait…it was apparent that the testing wasn’t going to work today adding to the already stressful situation. The students were restless and struggled staying focused. I read to them a few times while my daughter tried to find around the issue and be able to test. It made me sad to see the teachers (and students) in such a situation only to realize it meant an extra day focused on testing rather than learning. Ugh, my heart hurt.
The teachers here also have had many changes in their literacy program. They started the year with “Wonders” a basal like literacy program. Moved on to a literacy block with guided reading, student choice and more authentic practice, and then were told to use “Read 108” with students testing in the basic or lower ranges. Her classroom has a fairly large library supplemented by my teacher friends and me. Her books had been organized by genre, but now all have lexile and guided reading levels on them. (My thoughts based on best practices: Children are not levels, and need choice and time to read if they are to truly improve.) These students are struggling, their home life is not always positive, they continue to see the,selves as scores and levels. The teachers know this isn’t right, but the state forces their hand. I wonder how many other places are like this too.
I will continue to try to help my daughter from afar. I know it’s hard, and at times the pressures are greater than anyone needs. I know that when she steps into my classroom she sees the other side. It’s not fair to her that they are over testing or that her students are over tested. I wonder how this can change, how anyone thinks more testing will hope.
We both have state mandated testing coming up soon too. My students will take the PARCC her’s will take MAP. More time spent away from learning. More time looking at scores rather than students. Change needs to happen.