Collaboration is the Key to Testing

Posted: February 12, 2015 in Uncategorized

These are my students.

My students are doing well.

I have to get my students ready for the test.

Over the past few years I have said “my students”. Yes, they are my kids, but really, they are not.

Due to testing, teachers are always referring to students in their classes as “their kids”. It’s come to the point that I think teachers are so focused on preparing them for the test, that they don’t care about other teachers or students.

Do other teachers feel this way?

I feel like a lot of teachers keep secrets of what they do in class and how they help students learn so that they can help their students pass the test.

But aren’t we all teaching so that we can help all students? So how can we stop this “my students” talk and secrecy?

Well, I think by stopping testing in grades 3-8 could help.

Now, am I saying we need to stop all testing? Well, no. I do believe that we need accountability and make sure that students are learning and can show what they have learned. However, I think by changing some of the testing could help with teacher collaboration.

So in my perfect world, this is what I could see that could help with teachers working together and to help stop testing fatigue of students.

3rd grade could have Reading and Math assessments. Now, there is not a MUST HAVE score, but this would help with baseline scores to know how students are doing.

4th grade would have the must have scores for Math. In this assessment we would make sure that students can add, subtract, multiply and divide. There would also be some problems to help us know that students are starting to understand problem solving skills.

5th grade would have must have scores for Reading that would also include some writing. This would give us some insight to how students are developing in the Reading/Writing world.

6th grade has Science to help us see that students are understanding the concepts of the world around them. In this assessment would be a writing aspect also to help us see their understanding of the world, but also if their writing is improving.

7th grade is back to Math to see if students are ready for deeper concepts and that they are starting to understand how to use integers (positive and negative numbers), fractions, decimals and how all of those work together.

8th grade would be Reading. By this point we need to make sure that students have a great understanding that they can read. In that reading assessment would be readings and questions about our government/history of state and country as well as science aspects. Why have separate assessments when all of them could be included together?

Once the students are in high school then the districts pay for students to take the ACT or SAT the first time as a sophomore (10th grade) in high school. These are the tests that colleges look at, so we need to utilize them. Why are we wasting money on assessments that only the government looks at? Shouldn’t we be showing off to everyone what we are teaching students?

With testing in this form it would allow teachers to stop saying “my students” and start talking to teachers across their grade level and also with teachers before their grade and after. This would help us focus on what is best for ALL students and not just the ones sitting in our class at this time.

I also feel that it would help us get away from “you’re in this grade so you should know this” mindset that our government has. Would the tests be a little longer? Possibly. But when they are only taking one assessment a year, then we could allow 3 or 4 one-hour sessions for the assessment. I think it would give us a better look at how the student is doing.

What are your thoughts? What could we do to testing to help teachers work together to reach ALL students?

  1. I think you are on the right track. However, I think that the baseline for students needs to be built over several years of collective data and scores. For students who need the help, a collective IEP that all teachers are involved with and can help. By achieving success with single students, the collective whole is raised and suddenly……”my student” becomes “our student”. “Our student” then translates to “our students”.

    • So the baseline should be several smaller assessments that we put together during grades 1-3? There is no reason for assessments to be a week long or over an hour for any student that age. If we just keep the data together (we do live in the age of technology) and all use the same information, it would help greatly. We also need to stop the ‘our district/school is better than yours’ mentality and share data gathered.

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