This week, we’ve been getting ready for the state-mandated TAKS test at school. While this is a normal part of most states after the No Child Left Behind Act and I DID experience this in Ohio while student teaching…
…well, they say “everything’s bigger in Texas,” right?
TAKS testing is something that the state of Texas takes very seriously. Like cover-your-walls-you-know-students-taking-a-math-test-will-use-social-studies-maps seriously. Like OMFG-why-haven’t-you-covered-your-walls-yet seriously. Many teachers would rather be… teaching, but forget about that. In Texas, we test.
Since politicians who have never been in a classroom as a teacher are the ones who decide this, it usually sucks. I’m not going to get into the whining about my life next week, but here’s a rundown of what my school/district have done to “prepare” teachers and students:
- TWO hour-long trainings before each bit of tests (the first battery was in April for English/Language Arts) – complete with instructional videos that someone in Texas got paid for… yes… on how to monitor a classroom during a test!
- Daily ten-minute long Math-related “Jeopardy!” games instead of announcements. “Because having announcements during class time instead (and taking time out of teaching the um… material) makes so much sense!
- Daily reminders instilling the fear known as “testing irregularities.” As far as I’m concerned, they’re thankfully like Bigfoot – I hear about them but haven’t seen them… yet. Wink, wink.
- On Monday: a TAKS Pep Rally! GOOOO Denominators(?)
In all honesty, I have no problem with some standardized testing. My problem comes with too much emphasis being placed on it for schools and teachers. My problem comes with politicians fudging numbers to look better – for example, the students can pass with a 60%(WTF?!)
Testing is something that a lot of teachers complain about – but it’s not just the pressure we’re complaining about. Politicians need to make a decent and well-thought out appeal to teachers by understanding that kids can’t be measured like lab rats. More trust being given to the teachers would be nice, too – but God forbid that happening.
I think I’ll go get some Rio Blanco Pale Ale now. As much as I hate TAKS training, at least my week hasn’t been like the owner of this red car:
(Different video, but same idea used by BadKidsGoodGrammar. She’s right when “Happiness is cold beer,” though I prefer the bottled variety.)