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Thoughts on Testing

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My colleague and I counted it up a few days ago.  With our state standardized test, plus the “predictive” tests we give (the ones that are supposed to tell how our students will perform on the state test), our middle school students will have tested for about 25 hours by the time the school year is over.  And then just today, I found out we have a NEW (additional) test to give this year.  Fantastic.

Sometimes I feel like I can’t even cover the material that is going to be on the test because we spend too much time testing to even get to the teaching.

The testing is ridiculously excessive.

I understand accountability.  It would be bad if teachers just taught whatever they wanted and students didn’t learn the skills and information they should.  But this…

I just don’t even have words.

How am I supposed to instill a love of learning?  How am I supposed to emphasize that it’s not all about the “right answer,” but rather the thinking process?  How am I supposed to teach anything of true value when we are constantly testing?

Someone has got to do something.  Some change has got to come.  Otherwise, our culture will be filled with young people who look to a test for their value.  And our schools will be empty of teachers.

I have talked to so many teachers in the past couple of weeks who are just done.  Fed up.  Over it.  We went into this profession because we love discovery.  Testing does not have anything to do with discovery.  Testing is about figuring out what The Machine thinks is the correct answer.

Maybe I’ll rebel.  Maybe I’ll say, “To heck with the tests and the standards.  I’m going to do things that are FUN, things that students ENJOY, and things that promote TRUE LEARNING.”

If I do that, will I be able to keep my job?

If I don’t do it, will I still want my job?


About Karen Koch

I like the old-fashioned lifestyle. All this new-fangled stuff baffles me sometimes. I cherish living out in the country, raising chickens and rabbits, planting fruit trees, and enjoying a slow life filled with beautiful words and ideas. I don't always achieve a slow life. I teach middle school English and manage a little burgeoning farm with my husband, and somewhere in the midst of that, I try to find time for writing, running, knitting, reading, and playing the ukulele. And sometimes, I actually succeed.

2 responses »

  1. I seriously think that it won’t be long until there’s a teacher uprising. I think you should lead the charge! Maybe after you have some money in savings :/

    • I agree. I joined a Facebook group that posts a lot of news links about rebellions — of both teachers and parents — against testing happening all over the country. I’m definitely keeping an eye on things.


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