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Alio3274 Alio3274 is offline
 
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Testing
Old 12-29-2017, 02:18 PM
 
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Hello everyone! I am working on a paper and one of the questions asks about educational trends and issues...I have my ideas, but would love to hear how others feel.
I consider testing to be a huge issue in public education. Even as a Kindergarten teacher, I spend so much time testing, I feel like I have no time to teach!

What do you believe to be the causes, effects and resolutions for testing?


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Old 01-01-2018, 08:50 PM
 
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Jan. 1 @ 10:50 pm
............................... ....
Wow- that's waaaayy to much question for one post! Lol. I will say that I think one of the big causes of so much testing is that people in high up positions in education feel they need to do something to justify their jobs and paychecks. Some testing is needed, just to check I. Every once in awhile to see the progress kids are making, but in my opinion, standardized testing could be done every three years or so. Say the end of third grade, and then right before starting middle school (6th grade), again before freshman year, and then at the end of eleventh grade for exit testing prior to graduation. I think that would give states and districts enough information to see where their schools and states stand as a whole. Those types of tests aren't really meant to be used to inform instruction for individuals or small groups of students, and should never be used as incentive or punishment for individual teachers or schools. Just my humble opinion.
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Every 3 years...
Old 01-07-2018, 05:56 AM
 
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Apple Annie... Oh, for the good old days! That is pretty much what used to happen. What they are doing to K-3 students now should be criminal. To see a line of first week kindergartners march to the computer lab to be tested is just so sad.
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Old 01-07-2018, 12:49 PM
 
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I get what others are trying to say... I really do. However, I think part of the issue is the stress everyone lets trickle down to their students. My kindergarteners did the EdPerformance test at the beginning of the year independently on the computer. Nobody was upset about it. I hyped it up rather than adding stress. Often teachers stress to kids how important whatever is, how they need to focus, etc. and they add tension. Or they themselves get stressed about the test and the kids feel that stress. When we did the computer testing I told them something to the effect of "Today we are going to do an activity on the computers. Some of it might be easy but some of it the computer might try to trick you. It's okay to just make a good guess. If you need a break let me know." I walked around and gave encouragement. I allowed students to take breaks (get a drink, look at a picture book, etc.) and reminded them that some of the things would be too hard.

My kids have a comprehension test every week in reading. No one gets upset. I make it not a big deal. I don't even tell them we are taking a test. Also I was reminded recently not to let things "above my pay grade" stress me out. Basically, try to let go of the decisions I can't change. The government/district/principal says we have to do xyz so I try to roll with it and make it as pleasant as possible for my kids. I also don't think testing 3 times a year is really that excessive. EdPerformance in particular also gives me really good data to use. It backs me up in the things I try to tell my principal. For example, the kindergarten student everyone is trying to push me to retain scored in the 50th percentile in reading and the 60th in math. Due to the fact I didn't pick or create the assessment they can't argue against the data.
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Old 01-07-2018, 03:13 PM
 
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I have to respectfully disagree with your comment that 3 times a year isn't too excessive. If it was a single test, 3 times a year, that really wouldn't be a problem. However, in NC that isn't the case. There are several different tests given 3 times a year and third graders get hit with 2 additional tests that K-2 or 4-5 students do not take. The big time drainer is the TRC which requires one on one testing for each K-3 student. At the same time that the testing was increased our state legislature scaled down the number of assistants by 5,000 across the state. So in order to have coverage for the classes assistants are moved around and volunteers, when available, are used. This disrupts schedules and routines for 3 weeks, 3 times a year. K-2 teachers do not test their own students for the one-on-one testing. Since I retired i have been volunteering 4-5 days a week. So for the next 3 weeks I will not be able to meet with my small groups because I will be covering classes. This is just one example. But the same is true for the assistants, they are unable to work with their groups.

It truly is wonderful to be able to have your outlook and your children are very fortunate. Unfortunately, many teachers deal with excessive pressure from their principals. I visited one school where a principal posted large bar graphs in the hallway which displayed the results by classroom teacher. Of course, the graphs didn't take into account the make-up of each class. IMO, this just doesn't seem fair.

You absolutely have the right attitude, maybe some day all our hardworking teachers will be able to do the same, they deserve it but more importantly, the children deserve it.


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Old 01-07-2018, 08:49 PM
 
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RetiredKat

I agree with you actually. I meant 1-2 tests three times a year... not enough testing to take out 3 weeks of instruction. We do math and reading testing 3 times a year with EdPerformance and AIMS 3 times a year. AIMS is thankfully quick and we only do the reading probes. EdPerformance only takes about 30 minutes for reading and 30 minutes for math. Maybe a little more if students are really low or really high. We finished both math and reading in two days (about 45 minutes each day) even for the very first test at the beginning of the year. When I did Title I I tried to support teachers with testing as much as I can. I did all of the AIMS probes for all students K-2 three times a year. We had to do them paper pencil too which took forever. I don't support weeks of testing. That would make anyone feel crazy.
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I moved
Old 01-08-2018, 01:53 AM
 
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from Colorado to Maryland and the difference is huge--and refreshing!

In Colorado, it was scores, scores, SCORES. We lived and died by those scores--our evaluations were tied to our students' scores! I know that seems ridiculous, but it's true. Sure makes it so you don't want to teach the poor kids--they're hell on your job security! In the elementary school I worked in, our scores were posted in the break room. You couldn't even eat lunch without SCORES staring you in the face. First thing in the fall--data dig! And if scores weren't what the P wanted, there would be hell to pay all year long so the next set of scores looked better--or not (usually not). The state levied sanctions against schools (and entire districts) who taught poor kids and whose scores were low. They were called "failing schools" and often closed and turned over to charters (who did no better).

This is my second year teaching in Maryland, and the word "scores" hasn't even come up once. PARCC is given, but no one stresses. The teachers here are dumbfounded to think that a state legislature could throw teachers under not just the bus, but every single bus in the world, by tying our evaluations (and employment) to the scores of children who are hungry, homeless, etc. No one hassles about scores here. No one freaks over the PARCC tests. We have high kids and low kids and no one has to worry that working with low kids might mean you're going to get fired.

All testing ever did for Colorado--ALL it ever did--was point out where the poor kids live.
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Lillybabe...
Old 01-08-2018, 05:33 AM
 
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That sounds like heaven or how it used to be in the good old days!

It all depends on the state, district, or school how much extra and unnecessary stress is placed on the teachers and children.
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Old 01-08-2018, 06:49 AM
 
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Well, since part of my evaluation is based on test scores, based on tests that I have no input - and in fact am not even supposed to read the questions so that I know what questions they were even asked, tests are important to me. They aren't everything, but I do want my kids to have what they need to be successful and whether anyone wants to believe it or not, a lot of my teaching is then geared toward helping my kids be able to take "the test." Our school mission is based on test scores. Our school grade is in large part based on our test scores. Way too much importance.
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Old 01-08-2018, 07:57 PM
 
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Kinder here

MAPS 3 times a year
TS Gold
SLOs
DRAs 2 times a year
PALS 3 times a year
Math assessments 1 on 1 3 times a year

Plus my own data collection to inform instruction.

My evaluation is 50% test scores


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Old 01-09-2018, 02:06 AM
 
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That is so depressing. I used to believe that if you just waited awhile the current fad would pass. I'm still waiting for this one to fade away.
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Old 01-09-2018, 05:32 PM
 
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It won't fade away any time soon. There's too much money to be made.
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Old 01-14-2018, 08:34 AM
 
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Standardized testing in our private school is only required every other school year. Remember this testing takes an entire week of learning time away from students and teachers, but it is important if you make decisions using the data. I school does not do that in anyway. I actually prefer every other year, but every three would be sufficient. However, our curriculum tests every subject once a week. I think that is excessive. Reading grades weekly can be done as a running record so it does not effect teaching time. I actually liked having IRA done twice a year for low performing readers by the reading specialist. It gave another perspective/suggestions and benchmark assessment (not just classroom performance). I prefer spelling weekly. Subject testing every week is too much class time. I teach first and second grade, so every two or three weeks to gather progress information and report card grade is plenty. Portfolio records of classroom performance and seatwork can provide most of this information without lost class time. Testing is definitely about money. Decision makers don't seem to understand that just raising the bar doesn't improve performance. I have seen kids who improved two stanines in a single year, and was still questioned about how I would provide remedial instruction and why I didn't think they should retain. A kid who grows that much this year should be able to do it again (and deserves the chance to try if they are on grade level in the low range). I thought private school would be better, but it is really just different. The curriculum plays a large role in student performance, and I don't choose that. In public I had more flexibility to modify and add as necessary. Just my rambling thoughts
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Old 01-14-2018, 01:28 PM
 
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Hi Lilacs. We also are required to give a test each week in each subject. It makes Fridays grueling for the kids. I try to spread the testing schedule out, but I still end up giving usually three tests on Fridays. That's a lot for a second grader. I too think that a reading test every two to three weeks with running records would be sufficient. If you are using those type of assessments to inform instruction, you need to time actually implement the adaptations you've made to instruction long enough to see whether 'those changes are actually working.
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This is puzzling to me. . .
Old 01-15-2018, 08:46 AM
 
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What you are all describing is what our district went through for 14 years of No Child Left Behind. We had an ENORMOUS amount of testing and accountability to partake in. Our READING FIRST GRANT even created unit tests that were designed to monitor teachers to see if they were even sticking to the fidelity of the core or deviating. Now the pendulum has swung the other way and just this year we purchased iready, RAZ, and intervention materials to accompany our program. For 3 years we only were using our Basel tests which were so ridiculously hard that the majority of our population of 99% at risk students failed these tests. What took 14 years to master
( and yes our tests scores steadily improved) was now pulled out from under everyone and our new Kinder team has had to fend for themselves. They are all applying to different districts because they have no clue what data driven, backward planning, or true accountability even mean. They are in the process of attempting to write their own curriculum from tpt because they claim their students don't like the Basel. ( a sure recipe for burn out and financial strain) I guess my point being, as a reading intervention teacher, is that progress monitoring, accountability, informal or formal assessments, or whatever you use to evaluate your students progress or outcomes, need to be somewhat explicit, targeted, and most important meaningful or useful to your instruction. We see where I teach now what happens when we throw the baby out with the bath water.
If you have a very high turnover rate of students and teachers there has to be some form of a predictable and structured process to monitor growth.
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I am unsure how I feel about testing
Old 01-15-2018, 07:27 PM
 
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Testing is definitely a debatable topic. You have chosen a good topic for educationl trends and issues, because you will have plenty to write about. Personally I am not sure where I stand. I see both the negatives and positives on this topic. Do I think testing can get a little out of hand, absolutely. Do I see how it may be needed to show where a student is excelling versus not doing well at, yes I do. I think testing can be done in many different forms where it may not be considered "testing" but gives you the same results as a test would. I will be curious to see all of the opinions on this topic.

#Followingthread
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Massachusetts
Old 01-30-2018, 05:29 PM
 
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The cause of testing is money. Oh, not money for the students, but money for the testing companies. In 2015 Massachusetts spent $31.6 million + on the state level for MCAS/PARCC. And God only know how much was spent at the town/city level prepping for those tests.

The effect of testing is the narrowing of the curriculum. History, social studies and science are dead at the K-4 level in Massachusetts and hardly breathing in the 5-8 grades. Why, because history is not tested at all and science only in two years. Therefore, teachers ignore those subject. I once read this statistic that said elementary students only spend 7% of their time studying science AND history. And I believe that number.

The only resolution is at the ground level. We have to push back against testing, a state ballot question would be a good start here in my home state.

Good luck with your paper.


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