Today was like the Oprah Show
"You get an opt-out, and you get an opt-out, and you get an opt-out…"
In case you've been under a rock today and haven't heard the great news, at 2:30 pm central time on April 27, 2016, the Tennessee Department of Education FINALLY saw the TN ready for what it was (or wasn’t) and suspended testing for grades 3-8. And they fired Measurement Inc. Done, Over, Finito.
Almost makes you want to giggle (or cry) over the expensive commercial that hit the airwaves just last week. Our kids are ready. Our teachers are ready. Our administrators would have been ready too, if Measurement Inc. had ever gotten the test booklets printed and mailed out to schools.
So, now.....The whole state is opting out!
Oh, the irony of parents being told we couldn’t do that, it’s not allowed.
But…. We Still Have Some Questions!!
Why are they still being assessed using tests from a company fired by the state?
We want the Tennessee Department of Education to let them off the hook too!!
Our high school students and 8th graders taking EOCs deserve to salvage a tiny bit of this year to make memories and spend the final months of this over-tested school year having fun and being TAUGHT by some amazing Tennessee teachers. Like this anonymous high school teacher in middle TN who says:
"I have proctored 2 TNReady tests in the past 4 days for high school. What I see is apathy. Students do not care. It is just another fill-in-the-bubble test. They just had a similar test one month ago. We teachers are sick of being cheerleaders for tests that serve no purpose. I can't even look at the tests or discuss them with students anyway. Students and teachers are burnt out on these tests. They serve no purpose. I don't need them in order to teach. I can give my own tests!"
This teacher nailed it. Our kids are burned out by testing long before the end of course. We want to know why are high school EOCs given in April when there is at least a month left in the school year?
Things that make you go HMMMMMM??????
Shouldn’t EOC tests, by definition, be given at the END OF THE COURSE??? When there are 180 days of school (90 days per semester on the block schedule), why would we expect our students to take an EOC test on day 160 (70 on block schedule)?
Figuring 5 days in a week x 4 weeks is 20 school days using common sense math not common core math, we come up with 180-20=160 and 90-20=70. Sooooo… Shouldn’t EOCs be scheduled on day 178 or 179 (day 88 or 89 for block schedule schools)? Wouldn’t we want our teachers to get in as much instruction time as possible before the EOC test? Is it fair to test our students without giving them the benefit of a full school year of learning?
Since TDOE doesn't have any answers for us then we think every district should follow the lead of Williamson County. Their Superintendent not only cancelled the TNReady tests for grades 3-8, but cancelled high school EOCs as well!!!
BTWs… Who is going to grade these Measurement, Inc. tests?
Seriously… What other test company is going to have the MI Answer Key?
Momma Bears is betting that not one other testing company is willing to touch MI's mess with a ten foot pole!
Honestly folks, now that Measurement, Inc. is fired, who would want to grade ANY of the MI produced EOCs, TNReady, Science TCAP standardized tests? Face it, the tests developed and managed by Measurement, Inc have no grading destination.
And who is going to hire test graders? Who will have to pay them? How would it even be valid grading in such a short time frame? Our state Department of Education needs to stop pretending this can be solved in a few months. A good, valid test based on TN Standards should take years to develop. Have we not rushed and bungled enough? The rush to get this done by a competitor... how does that fly? Take a competing vendor and give them the other vendors test questions out to be graded? Really? Will that fly like pigs on an intellectual property lawsuit?
So what are they going to do? Follow in MI's footsteps and hire graders off Craig’s List?
At this point the whole testing debacle is so flawed that any data they might possibly be able to squeeze out of any of these TN(not)ready tests would be worthless. The state DOE has indicated that this would be a baseline year to judge future years from. ((insert evil laugh))
Since we are no longer using Measurement Inc. or TN(not)ready how would these tests be used? The scores from these tests were never going to be back in time to count in grades for our high school students. We have yet to see the test scores from the fall for those schools on block schedules and teachers have been given the option to not have these scores count against them.
So, what is the point in continuing to put these tests in front of our students?
Let's not forget the youngest test-takers in Tennessee...
One elementary teacher writes, "I'm thrilled for the students who TN Ready was cancelled for. However, please pray for the K-2 students who are in the midst of SAT 10 hell. Our test was moved up from next week to this week due to the testing fiasco. We had a field trip scheduled for Monday we had to cancel. My poor 2nd graders took the math portion today. We started at 8:00 and were finished at 11:20 with one 10min. break. Our lunch time is at 11:30! One of the other 2nd grade classes was 30 min. late getting to lunch because they were still testing."
Sadly, some districts pick data over children's welfare. They force children 5-8 years old to take the SAT-10 test over a 3 day period taking many hours to complete. It is torturous for such young children. And it is developmentally inappropriate. But it gives data that can be used to evaluate teachers, so districts justify its use.
But parents and teachers in Knox County knew better and spoke against SAT 10 at their school board meetings. They successfully pressured their elected school board members to dump the SAT-10. Victory! It worked! See, parents and teachers? Your voices work, but you have to speak up and use them!!!
Just imagine, Momma Bears
If the state DOE would have cancelled the WHOLE TN(not)ready test on that crazy morning in February when all the computers crashed.
What a different year our kids and teachers and administrators would have had:
- NO stress over standardized tests
- NO stress over moving test dates and then moving them again
- NO stress over hours and hours of test prep
- NO testing anxiety
- NO losing fun activities because the test has been changed yet again
- NO stress over changing from computers to pencils and paper
- NO stress over unanswerable questions
- NO stress over questions that were not aligned with standards
- NO stress over scheduling Teachers who could actually teach their subject – oh how amazing that would be
- Students who could have been challenged beyond learning a testing medium that they would never see again.
- Students that could be engaged in the joy of learning instead of the agony of test prep
- We could revel in what amazing things our teachers would have taught our students over the last several months instead of looking back in frustration at the hours and days and months spent learning to test.
- We could see amazement at the learning process instead of pushing rigor over the testing process
For those of you that would like to make a bonfire of those fabulous (now not-worth-the-paper-they-are-printed-on tests) if your school ever actually received delivery of them…. Well, you can’t.
Those questions are secure, even though we fired the company that wrote them. No wait!!! We bought them from Utah. Even though we fired the company that bought them from Utah, we don’t own them to burn.
According to FAQ, Suspending TNReady Part II Testing for Grades 3-8 April 27, 2016:
If districts cannot or do not administer grades 3-8 tests, those materials are still considered secure testing documents and should be similarly kept in a secure location until we provide labels to ship materials. No materials should be disposed.