- The District
- The Community
- Your Colleagues
I'd like to think that I'm only speaking for myself or the teachers in my state on this issue. But, I feel confident that that's not the case. In California, school rankings and scores are published in the newspapers and discussed by the community. School's reputations are made or broken by the bottom line, numbers printed in black and white on newsprint. It's enough to make any teacher's blood pressure rise at the thought of it.
These are some of the things I've heard teachers say over the years about standardized test scores and the pressures surrounding student performance:
- "I did just fine in school and life, even though my teachers didn't emphasize achievement on tests."
- "It's only one test - why does it matter so much?"
- "I don't even have time to teach Science or Social Studies any more!"
- "I start teaching Test Preparation the first week of school."
- "It's not fair that we're 'graded' on how our students do on this test, when all we can do is present the information to them. We can't help how they will actually do on Test Day!"
- "My principal's on my back this year because my students didn't so well last year."
The purpose of this article is not to complain or whine. I simply wanted to open up the topic for discussion. I've never mentioned Standardized Tests in the four and a half years that I've worked on this site. It seems to be the pink elephant sitting in everyone's classroom. We're all a slave to test scores, but we're not supposed to talk about it frankly.
Please share your tips and ideas for what we, as classroom teachers, can actually do to make the best of a pressure-filled, politically-charged situation that's gone out of control. I'd love to hear your thoughts on testing and how you deal with it. Join the discussion on our Message Board.