Monday, April 23, 2012

Testing, Testing, 1,2,...3?

Well, one week of NYS Grades 3-8 testing is in the books! So far we have had only one goofy question on the 8th grade English Language Arts test, and one wrong answer in a 3rd grade English Language Arts answer key. The NYS Grades 3-8 Math Assessment is this week, and we will see how that goes.

Testing is interesting in the sense that most would agree some type of testing is appropriate for students. However, the frequency, duration, style of questions, and mistakes in the answer key are always argumentative points for why testing is bad. In my opinion, our job as educators is to move students from an initial point of learning to another point with those points being determined by state standards. Benchmark tests are given periodically throughout the year, along with quizzes and local tests and tell us if a child is making progress, exceeding progress point, or needs extra assistance. The availability of digital testing even allows teachers to adjust instruction while the instruction is being given.

A pet peeve for me related to testing is when teachers and students complain that material contained on a state test was never taught. Not because the information was intentionally omitted, but because the people setting the standards and the people writing the tests do not communicate. This sends mixed messages for staff and students and further gives testing a bad name. From what I have gathered thus far in this testing cycle, the material being tested is the material that was taught. That is a good thing.

We use testing as a way to monitor student progress and provide support that might be necessary to continue to meet/exceed standards. You as parents will have unprecedented access to this testing when the state begins the use of online testing targeted to begin in 2014.

Please remember that we are presenting the budget this week in our Large Group Instruction room at the High School on Tuesday at 7:00 p.m.  We also have a redistricting meeting this Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at Onondaga Road Elementary. All materials for both meetings can be found on our website

Have a wonderful week.