11 days totaling 7 hours and 30 minutes. That’s how much instructional time I used to help my students practice for the State ELA exams that begin today. The thought makes me quiver. What else could I have accomplished with my students during this time? And I’m one of the lucky ones. It was not mandated by administrators that my colleagues and I enact rigorous, continuous test prep for the exams. However, given the experience of last year’s tests, which seemed to be more of a measure of test-taking strategies than determining what and how much students have actually learned, I determined that this allotment of time was necessary. Last year, the ELA exams were like running a marathon: long, challenging, exhausting.
There has been much talk about students opting out of these exams. Frustrated parents and students have decided that the best way to act in response to these exams is not to act. What consequences this will bring or messages this will send to policy-makers remains unclear.
My thoughts are with all of the students who are undoubtedly experiencing some, if not, a great deal of anxiety over this testing. My thoughts are with all of the teachers who will spend the next three days trying to reassure their students that they’re wonderful and brilliant.