The Ten Stages of Standardized Testing

If you’re a classroom teacher you know the stress that can surround testing.  Depending on your students and administration you may feel varying levels of pressure to toss your well laid plans out the window and head for the test prep.  (Or maybe that was your plan?)  At any rate, we all go through stages leading up to the test.

1) Denial

“It couldn’t possibly be January already could it?  The test isn’t until March, we have TONS of time.”

2) Anger

“How dare these politicians reduce my teaching to this number.  You can’t measure what I do with a test!”

3) Annoyance (While taking the other test that the district makes you take that is supposed to “predict” how they will do on the state test.)

“This isn’t anything like the state test.  This is the worst measure of student learning I’ve ever seen in my life. I should be teaching right now.”

4) Panic (Can be offset by any number of factors including but not limited to: colleagues with test prep books, anxious parents, hysterical administration, “will this be on the ISAT?” questions from students, and that dream where you’re taking a final you haven’t studied for naked.)

“Where did I….. stash that box…… of test….. prep books?  I’ll just look them over…”

5) Bargaining (This is usually directly related to a specific subject or group of students.)

“Why is this unit in math so late in the year!  I should have taught this earlier, they need more time. Maybe I could just test prep this one concept….”

6) Acceptance

“Ok, calm down, look at the data, don’t throw the baby out with the bath water, just keep teaching but embed more test language into your lessons so that they can make the transfer easier.  Teach the test as a genre, help them break it apart and understand it. Don’t just throw practice at them willy nilly.  What do they really need work on, that’s what you can review and reteach.  Think about big concepts, problem solving strategies, tools that they can apply in many situations.  Think it out, be logical, have a glass of wine for goodness sake.”

7) Hope

“They actually know a lot of this stuff already….hmmmm…maybe I did do an okay job teaching this year.  Their writing is getting better, they are thinking about their math more clearly, they’re remembering to refer back to the passages to answer questions.”

8) Rally (This is the part where you become an overly cheerful-Smencil wielding-snack toting-cheerleader for success.)

“You guys know this stuff!  You’ll be amazing!”

9) Relief

“Thank goodness that’s over, now I can get back to quality curriculum!”

10) Lingering Dread

“I hope they did okay.”

Just remember, good teaching and enriching quality curriculum is the best preparation for life and that’s the important thing.

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