Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Musings On test Taking by Grumpy Old Teacher

Originally posted at: https://grumpyoldteacher.com/2019/05/11/musings-on-test-taking/?fbclid=IwAR1qXzc77kPtE4lxBgwTdwqbCfLWrfvFekm-1UcYRN-agits86ckx2HISjw

Image result for proctoring exams
I wonder what they’re thinking.
It’s that time of year: testing. For GOT, it’s the most boring time as he must watch students work without actually seeing that work, maintain a hawk-like scrutiny of computer screens to make sure students are not exiting the test to look up answers without actually observing what is on the screen (strictly forbidden for a proctor to actually read a test question), and otherwise spend hours doing absolutely nothing except reading a sentence out of the test manual at the prescribed times.
GOT has some observations to share:
  • Based on the number of students GOT has to wake up, there is something soporific about sitting in a hard plastic chair staring at a screen. If tests are ever eliminated, the manufacturers will find a new market in the sleep aid category.
  • Teachers can fix their low salary problem by selling pencils to students. The number who show up unprepared! And it’s not only for tests, it’s every day that children arrive in class without the supplies needed: pens, paper, and the like. In the moment, it’s a seller’s market.
  • Deafness will mark this new generation. After listening to ear-pounding music every second they are awake, they won’t reach 40 with their hearing intact.
  • States make many graduation requirements. Most of them are unnecessary, but GOT would like to add one. No student may graduate without going into the wilderness to experience silence. Off the grid, off the net, no phone, no music … silence. It would be a profound experience.
  • GOT is a good actor as he is able to read the part of the script that admonishes students they must never, ever at the cost of their first-born child talk about the test after it is over, including Snapchat and Instagram, without laughing. Kudos to test manufacturers for somewhat keeping up with preferred social media platforms, but based on actual experience with teenagers, the manufacturers would do better to demand that they must share about the test. Teenagers seldom follow directions.
  • We have a test today?! GOT would like to give one test without hearing that. He’s only mentioned it for the past two weeks, had it posted on the whiteboard, sent an alert to parents the week before, and done everything he could short of streaking through the classroom to draw attention to the fact that a test has been scheduled.
  • Computer testing is awful. Many students simply read the screen and take their best guess. If they had to mark an answer on a paper medium, they would take the time to think about a problem and try to work out an answer. There’s something about technology … that suppresses critical thought.
  • The public needs to learn that a READING test is not a reading test. That’s not what is being tested at all. The reading test actually attempts to measure critical thinking skills and how well they can express those thoughts.
  • What’s up with the computer system locking students out of their accounts? It never happens at any other time of the year.
  • BTW, no pencil ever said to a student that they had attempted to erroneously pick it up too many times.
  • God bless test coordinators who must explain to teachers why they lose their planning time to testing.
  • God bless test coordinators who somehow make it all work when teachers take a leave day without warning because they don’t want to administer a test. I’m not talking about those who protest (God bless them for taking a stand and acting on it); GOT has in mind those teachers who are uncooperative.
  • God forgive all teachers who participate in the system knowing it is wrong, but must do what they have to do.
  • God forgive administrators who never drank the kool-aid, but have to do the same.
  • In closing, let’s bless the hearts of all lawmakers who congratulate themselves that they are improving the lives of kids. Well, that would be true if their kids were the dollars in their bank accounts.
A toast to Papa Dollar and Mama Dollar and they better have a family …

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