That’s About All They Do

“Students prepare for high-stakes exams.”

At my school, at least, we spend an amazing amount of time reviewing for these tests. The students take three rounds of practice tests. Teachers are under orders to spend the final two weeks prior to the tests on nothing but review. We also have to spend at least ten to fifteen minutes of ever fifty minute class doing test prep. Add it up and the students lose better than a month of class time. Reviewing is a good thing, even without state tests. This amount of review, though, means a hurried and shallow understanding of the course content in the first place.

There’s more time costs than that, too. My mind has gone numb from all the meetings led by all the administrators, central office people, and outside consultants. All of them telling me different things, some contradictory. All of them requiring  me to fill out their form so they know I understood what they told me. All of them costing me time and energy I could have used to benefit my students.

My favorite story? As commanded, I was using the first fifteen minutes of class to review. Suddenly an aid appears at my door. She tells me I have to go attend a meeting with someone from the central office. Nice of them to tell me ahead of time, I think, but whatever, I’ve worked here long enought to expect this sort of thing. So I go to the meeting and have to sit for an hour and listen to other teachers explain how they are going to review for the tests. Then I have to explain how I am planning on reviewing. When it was my turn, I said, with no attempt to conceal my derision, “Well, like I was actually doing before I was called in here to talk about it . . . .” That meeting also resulted in a form. It’s now in the circular file.

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One Comment on “That’s About All They Do”

  1. KC Says:

    We have the FCAT in Florida…always wondered who profits from the testing…..I only know it wastes alot of time for little real benefit


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