Can I just state unequivocally that I hate standardized tests? In the state of Indiana, we give the ISTEP once a year in the fall. Fine, I understand that we do need to measure student progress and learning; however, with the introduction of No Child Left Behind (and don't even get me started on that) a few years back, the tests have grown and grown.
Indiana is switching ISTEP testing from the fall to the spring. This means that this year, we have to give it twice to ensure that progress is measured accurately. Fine, I understand that it has to happen like that, but to make it worse, we are now giving another test called Acuity. Acuity is given FOUR times a year, and it is done to measure how students will do on the ISTEP test. Oh, yes, you read that right, we are now testing the kids to see how they will do on a test.
It frustrates me to no end. I'm losing I don't know how class time to these tests, not to mention that it burns out teachers and students. While there are some merits to the Acuity test, in that it can show me what areas students are struggling, I feel the tests are flawed. For one, the tests are given on the computer, despite my team arguing for paper/pencil test. I think online tests are AWFUL. For one, when kids are on a computer, they tend to just CLICK CLICK CLICK and be done. Trust me, I saw it done today. For another, it is detrimental to kids who are struggling readers. I encourage kids to follow along under a line of words with their pencil or finger. You can't do that on a computer. Perhaps it's more environmental, and trust me, I'm all about being green as much as possible, but in this case, I prefer to use paper. Then there's the sheer fact of the loss of class time! We had shortened class periods today due to the testing, so instead of spending an entire 45 minute class period on Characterization, over which students will be quizzed, I rushed through the notes in 20 minutes.
I don't normally vent my frustrations on public education, because I love my job, and I hate to add to some of the already negative connotations when it comes to public education, but something has got to give with the testing.