Oh testing! Today was day two of the reading test for our elementary students – grades three through five. In the lab that I was “guarding”, other wise known as proctoring, I had three rounds of testing. First thing this morning was a group of fifth graders. They know the drill – stretch to focus, log in with lots of numbers than read and read and read.
They were all very low key – so low key I had to wake up one young gentleman but for the most part they worked well, tried hard and are about half way through the test. You could tell that spring is here. They were 5th graders acting like high schoolers. It was the slow and I don’t care attitude. Most were way more interested in the free read book under their chair.
My second group was fourth graders. Here there was a bit more energy and more sassy language. They were more excited about the pre test stretch with the hopes of just turning it into a dance scene if possible.
The final group of the day was third graders – all energy, questions and concern about how many questions, was it going to be harder than Mondays test. They took a bit more to settle into the work at hand and struggled more with the task of taking a reading test on line.
What was interesting about all three groups is the only people who seemed nervous were the teachers. The stress was on the test proctors, the classroom teachers and the administration. The students just took this as another day – in fact one student was not sure if we were practicing or taking the real thing.
When you are 9, 10 or 11 and living in poverty there are so many other things to worry about – testing is pretty low on the list of concerns for our students. They are not able to make the connections or see how this brings value to them, their learning future or to the school as a whole.
The parents of these students know the test is important but work, paying bills and keeping the apartment or car and food on the table take over. Once again we as a society have set up the split between money and no/little money in the household. Once again we are leaving children behind because the people making the larger decisions can’t see what they don’t know. They don’t know the effect of poverty on children, learning and their families.
So tonight I go off to sleep knowing tomorrow we will have day three of our reading test. The students will try as best they can and we, as teachers,will know this is not showing what they really understand.