Yesterday, we – my class and I – wrapped up our standardized state testing for 2013. What a long, strange, trip it has been.
Starting last March with our Reading MCAS test, my students have been demonstrating their knowledge of third grade skills. That’s right, last March, when we were 7 months into our academic year (minus the week of snow days), my students had to demonstrate their end of year proficiency in Reading. I may not have been the best math student on the planet, but I know that 7 months does not equal an entire school year.
Yesterday, students completed their Mathematics tests. They worked so hard it is easy to forget that they are not taking the SAT or PSAT; they are 8- and 9-year olds performing on tests that take unbelievable amounts of stamina even if you are older.
Kids are kids. While one child finishes a 45-minute test in 20 minutes, another will take twice or three times that time. One student completed the test twice – she literally went back to each question, reworked the answer and then wrote a sentence or two explanation for why her math was correct. Two and one-half hours later, she finished this 45-minute test. After months of telling kids to “check, check, and double-check” your answers, I certainly was not going to discourage her effort!
We had the usual events out of our control: no glasses…. sick…. Hopefully the impact of those variables won’t be too great; however, my experience with MCAS – and now that it plays a part in my own teacher evaluation this becomes more important – is that it can have an impact and I do need to document just in case. Sad but true, MCAS is not just about student achievement.
So yesterday we put a period at the end of “MCAS 2013”, and today we return to our regular classroom routines. I can’t put a quantifier on it, but the classroom mood sure seems a lot lighter.