It makes sense to me that if I test my students on the first day of school and the last day of school, that I’d get a pretty good understanding of what they’d learned along the way.
So it always bothers me that the measurements that are used to evaluate my effectiveness as a teacher are done so late after the start of the year. As we begin the second full week, I have begun teaching both skills and content. We’ve covered the processes and procedures needed for classroom management, and are on our way through the curriculum. And yet, no pre-test yet.
As we move further into the school year, it will get worse for my evaluations, because the kids will score higher on sections of the pre-test that we’ve already covered.
This bothers me for a lot of reasons.
First, if I weren’t a high-road kind of girl, I could just show movies, or play games, or do puzzles the first weeks of school while waiting on a pre-test to show up. Good for me, bad for the kids.
Second, I could tell my kids to Christmas tree the test, thereby guaranteeing lower scores to start with. But, again, there’s that high-road, and I like the view from up there. And I don’t want to teach my students to skew data. They’ll figure that out soon enough in the long run.
Third, I really want accurate, timely feedback on whether my kids are learning anything. To do that the pre-test ought to come prior to the content. But it doesn’t, it comes when it comes, on it’s own schedule. I could be really grumpy and point out that the school calendars are published about six months prior to the new school year, but that might be petty, so I’ll keep moving.
Finally, if there continues to be so much money made in education by corporations who are looking for more data to mine, then the tests, the data we need, and the information most prescient to our classrooms will be completely out of our hands. Oh wait. Haha. It already is. Nevermind. Forgot where I was.
So, if you’re a teacher, or teacher friendly, I’d like to encourage you to get involved somewhere, and start speaking out against the craziness that is all of this money being spent on tests and testing instead of our students.
Have an awesome week, people!