Standardized Testing Craziness

Read this article earlier today about the testing schedule in Miami-Dade County Schools where the district testing schedule for the year has been posted to the public. Click the link to check out the schedule, and pay special attention to the number of times high school students and especially English/Language Arts students are tested.

Wow, right? As ELA teachers, one of the sad realities you’ll need to get used to is the number of instructional days you’ll lose because so many extra-curricular things are done through your classes. In the schools, I dealt with everything from school pictures to class scheduling to SEOPs to testing being conducted through my classes since every student in the school was enrolled in an ELA class, making my class the easiest place to conduct school-wide business.

But while I can understand some of these things taking time away from instruction in ELA classrooms (and I can even appreciate some of them), I’m befuddled by the increased amount of testing that we’re starting to see in schools, and ELA classes (along with some other core areas like math and science) seem to be special targets. The more I look over this testing schedule, the more I’m left scratching my head about why we need all this testing and what it’s designed to accomplish–or, perhaps more worrying, what we’re sacrificing in our classes to accommodate these tests.

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