State Testing in Alabama

I have seen so many things lately about standardized testing-most are negative- and feel sorry for the states or the districts that are placing SO MUCH emphasis on the state testing.

I have to say that our state super, Dr. Tommy Bice, is leading our state (Alabama) in an AWESOME direction.

Will we have standardized tests? Yes. Will we stop instruction and practice for the test? No. Will we get stressed out about the tests? No. Will we try our best on the tests? Yes. Will we spend 2 weeks testing? No.

Do you see why I’m happy? πŸ™‚

My 6th graders will only be taking tests for TWO days at the end of this month. 1 hour on each day.

Happy dance…………..

Now there’s always going to be something to question. Like why it might take until September 1st to get our results back. Or will we REALLY use the data for our instruction. And is my evaluation going to be tied to the student test SCORES or student GROWTH.

BUT overall I’m happy at this point.

Does that mean I’m not nervous? Well, yeah I’m nervous about how my 6th graders are going to perform on this test-the ACT Aspire. Why? Because they are aligned to the new standards, and the new standards are RIGOROUS and TOUGH. My kids aren’t used to this level of thinking. I’ve tried this year, I really have. And they are a great bunch of kids, and have made lots of progress with their thinking. But the reality is that it just sort of got dumped on them mid-way through their school career. And it’s been difficult.

Have I taught everything exactly like I was supposed to? Probably not. Have I tried? Definitely. Will I improve? Most certainly. Will they improve? Without a doubt.

It’s nice to know that even thought the test scores that come back from this test will say a lot about the kids, and they will say a lot about me, but they won’t DEFINE us forever. They will just give us a starting point, a baseline to work with.

And that’s what we all want. Right? Data to help drive what we do.

I can’t wait to get behind the steering wheel next year……………….. πŸ™‚

Can computers grade writing?

We’re all familiar with Common Core. BUT-have you thought about how the standardized tests are going to be graded? How are they going to grade the critical thinking if the answers aren’t given in multiple choice bubbles but written out?

Enter robo grading. Computerized grading. Hmmm…..

Visit NCTE’s website below to read their take on it. You’ll find it interesting at the least. You’ll find it scary at the most. See how the Gettysburg Address measure up with this idea of robo grading.

Machine Scoring in the Assessment of Writing

Then if you’re feeling spunky today (and I know you are!) head on over to this site to protest the grading by computers!!!!

humanreaders.org

Thank you for playing. πŸ™‚

Is Standardized Testing out the door???

Whether you are Republican or Democrat.

Whether you teach or not.

Whether you like Obama or not.

If he will follow up his words with action we will be ok!

Thankfully, in our great state of Alabama our state superintendent has made a decision that sits VERY WELL with me. He has decided to move our state testing to the month of May!!! Maybe that’s the precursor to moving it right out the door. πŸ™‚

Don’t get me wrong. I believe in assessments. I believe in data. IF we are going to do something with it! If we sit on it, then it is useless.

So I’ll be watching closely in the future to see what else comes up about standardized testing.