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Testing, Testing, Testy May 10, 2010

Posted by alwaysjan in Teaching.
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We start standardized testing tomorrow. This is a BIG deal. Your ABCs aren’t nearly as important as you API. I suspect Fisher-Price already has Baby’s First Scantron in development. What a great way to teach kids A,B,C, and D!

Don’t get me wrong. I do take testing seriously, but really, “is that all there is?” In Third Grade, we did 20 days of test prep on top of the unit testing for Open Court. One reading comprehension story involved a boy with a paper route.

Now I don’t know about you, but my newspaper (which we now only have delivered Thursday through Sunday) is delivered by a grown man named Jorge who drives an old Toyota and is left curbside at 6 a.m. I used to worry when the paper was missing that it had been stolen, until my husband reminded me that no one reads the paper any more. I hate it when he’s right.

So why are they asking my students, all whom were born post millennium, about a paper route. Most of their families don’t even read the newspaper!

Then there was a question about where you’d look to find more information if you were writing a report about kangaroos. The choices were a) the index b) the glossary  c) an encyclopedia, or d) the bibliography. One by one, my students raised their hands to signal they needed help. “I don’t get it, ” they whispered, “Where’s Google?”  Can you blame them?

I’ve recently trained my third graders on how to refine their search engine terms, so Wikipedia is the closest they’ll every come to the Encyclopedia. The other day, I took them on a trip down Memory Lane to the reference section of our library, so at least they know what an encyclopedia looks like. We only have one because it’s just so special.   If only we had a card catalog to complete their education in 20th century information hunting and gathering.

So we start standardized testing tomorrow. I have my fingers crossed. If only they could choose A,B,C, or G (for Google).

Photo Credit:  Paperboy from Google Images

Comments»

1. elissestuart - May 10, 2010

My son’s testing begins on Tuesday. His classes next year will hinge on his test scores.
No pressure.
eye roll.

Elisse – There’s so much emphasis on testing, that it gets in the way of teaching. Like What Mark Twain said, “Don’t let schooling interfere with your education.” Jan

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2. Donald Mills - May 10, 2010

In my view wikipedia isn’t that close to an encylopedia to begin with. Encyclopedias tended to have fact checkers, editors and didn’t provide complete breakdowns of every season of The Biggest Loser.

Donald-
Of course you’re right, but who can afford an encyclopedia? My parents bought one on a monthly plan. Goggle is as good as we got. I do tell my students what the deal is with Wikipedia, but they’re not really listening. What they love most is how you can change the language. I’ve got a boy who speaks Arabic, so this is a way cool feature. Ja
n

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3. Sheri O'Brien - May 10, 2010

I do not sweat CST testing one bit. I tell my kids, “If you’re not sure, take your smartest guess.” Couldn’t care less. Why is it so important, I’ve never really understood. I will not stress them or me out at all. CST= Can’t Stand This.
Good luck to you, though, Jan and Happy Mother’s Day!

Sheri – I don’t really sweat testing. In fact, I told my students I don’t look at how they answered the questions on purpose. Years ago I did, and it just made me want to bang my head against the wall. Jan P.S. I love your CST acronym!

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4. Catherine Sherman - May 10, 2010

Hope the testing goes well. I hope for a full report. As a student, I always loved those tests. I guess I still love tests, because I religiously watch Jeopardy every week day.

I do like actual newspapers, although we don’t subscribe any more to the Kansas City Star. I read everything online. I know I miss some local news, but there wasn’t much local content left in the newspaper by the time we stopped it. Only the sports section hadn’t shrunk. Sad, really. You and I used to both write for newspapers!

I love the online age, though. I don’t miss card catalogs, I can tell you that! We have an excellent library system in Johnson County, Kansas, for which we pay high taxes…but I’m getting my money’s worth. I do all of my searching on the library’s website, order my library books, and they are waiting for me on the library shelf when I arrive. I pass them under a bar code reader to check them out, and the receipt is emailed to me. It’s awesome. Soon, we’ll be able to read the books online or on electronic readers. Still, I love owning actual books, with related news articles sticking from the pages (that’s my filing system). Kids today won’t know what that’s like.

It’s true what you say about wikipedia. You can’t trust it, but for some purposes (non-political, if anything can be said to be non-political) it’s better than nothing. I love all of the links to related pages, and the change in language that you mentioned is awesome. Were I ever to try to practice my rusty French, I might even try it.

I do use Google, but I also want to use other search engines more, to keep google in line. Don’t want them to be the only search engine game in town.

Does anyone know of reliable online encyclopedia services that aren’t too costly? Encyclopedias have always been costly, and then quickly were out of date.

Cathy, Yes we did used to read the newspaper together while drinking our morning coffee.:) The encyclopedia we have at school looks nothing like the burgundy and navy blue World Book I grew up with. I do have an old encyclopedia cart with wheels on it in my classroom that I spray painted green. I use it for reference books, but there’s no encyclopedia in sight. I’ll put you in charge of locating an inexpensive on-line encyclopedia. Now you have some homework! Jan

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5. moxey - May 18, 2010

We had our testing here about three weeks ago, and since that point all the kids’ brains have shut down. Never mind that we still have about 10 days of school to go. It’s been hard to get revved back up to actually *learn* something and – gasp! – do *homework*.

Moxey – We finished testing last Friday. I agree that the kids’ brains have shut down as has mine. At this point, we’re churning out artwork for Open House, which comes late this year. This proves that we do something other than just prep for the test. Jan

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