It clearly states that conversions will not be tested. And, yet, surprise! There was a question requiring conversions. They tried to cover it up by sending a conversion table for the kids to use (units of measurement). However, the question involved cubic measurement. So the kids had to figure out how to solve the problem AND convert the units. There was a 5 part question so vague the kids didn't know where to write their answers.
Another example was a question where kids had to plot out a shape using a coordinate plane (grid), but the blueprint clearly states that kids will NOT be tested on grids. I honestly, with all my heart, believe this is not our test (produced specifically for TN).
It is terrifying that there is no way to blow the whistle on all of this without risking our careers. I teach at a top 5% school and my kids were crying they were so stressed.
Students that are not testing will be sitting in home room until after lunch when the testing will be finished. For the next four days students will be sitting in the same room from the time school starts until after lunch. About half the school will be testing. The other half will be doing nothing. I don't expect much teaching or learning will be happening in the afternoon - half the students will be exhausted from testing and the other half will be tired from spending the day doing nothing. Teachers will be just as exhausted as the students.
TNReady testing is underway. I received complaints about it all day yesterday. Here's a sampling:
1. My own daughter actually found five typos on her test today (misspellings, misplaced commas, etc.).
2. Young children were taught using inches, kilograms and grams as part of their standards, but the test used centimeters and ounces.
3. The answer sheet for TNReady was almost identical to the test booklet, and children were confused about where to write their answers.
4. Questions were completely confusing, and even adults proctoring the tests were uncertain of what some instructions meant.
5. "There are a lot of unhappy and confused teachers in [our district]."
6. None of the most advanced middle school math students at one school were able to complete the math test, and none of the students in that class understood the instructions on the test.
7. "This is a waste of our taxpayer dollars."
8. Teachers were repeatedly told that students would read two stories and write one prompt, but the test actually contained three passages with one prompt.
9. "What a waste of instructional time."
10. A child who could not speak or write any English was forced to sit for the test.
11. Math questions were written in a strange format that was very hard to understand and answer. The format required hand-written formulas and sentence explanations,.
12. “"I am feeling so angry and frustrated about this whole testing mess. My sweet eight year old is crying in her bed because she is so upset and worried about taking this stupid test. She is afraid she will not remember things and not finish the test, that she will get a bad grade (even though we've told her this does not count as a grade) and that her poor testing will make her teacher -who she loves-look like she has not done a good job teaching this year. That is way too much pressure for a third grader to deal with! Now she can't settle down and get the rest she needs and is dreading the day tomorrow. This is just not right."
13. "The essay questions did not make sense to children, so they did not understand what to write.”
14. "The test is so bad for kids. When I try to tell my friends about this stuff, they think I'm making it up." (from a teacher)
15. "One of the biggest problems we are facing at my school is literally just not knowing what we are supposed to be doing. There have been so many changes from the state, it's been hard to keep it all clear. When the tests were on computers, we were told most accommodations weren't needed. This has left our EL and particularly our EE teachers scrambling because it all has to be written into the IEPs."
I have 5th grade and we took the ELA tests. There were THREE passages for the kids to read for their first essay. The TN Blueprint, once again, has it wrong. It clearly states that kids in grades 3-5 will only read TWO passages. The students never practiced with 3.
I love your blogs about the mess that is TNReady. However, I would love to add another group of people in to your posts who are being affected in a HUGE negative way with all of this testing mess. School Counselors.
I am a school counselor at a very large school and I have not been able to do my job at all since the beginning of January. I have not been able to teach my classes, which I love and my students love. I have only been able to counsel and work with the most extreme kids in crisis. I have to turn away kids and parents because, "I'm sorry I have to get this testing stuff ready for next week" only for next week to come and we don't test.
I have made countless testing schedules and sent them on to teachers only to have to throw them away and start from scratch multiple times. I bet I have thrown away at least 7 reams of paper from testing that never happened (schedules, TAMs, tickets, etc). Who pays for the paper and the ink? Certainly not the state or MIST.
I have been in this job for years and every single year, prior to this mess, Test Administration Manuals and Proctor Scripts have always been printed by the testing company and shipped with the tests. However, that is not the case this year. None of those materials have been printed. It is up to each individual school to print their own. I calculated how much paper it will take us to print the TAMs and proctor scripts and it will be nearly 20 reams of paper for our large school and all of our students testing for Part I and Part II. Where is that paper and ink coming from?! I don't know about other schools, but in my school paper is treated as if it is gold. If we run out of our allotted amount of paper we either buy our own or don't print. I don't have a classroom of my own so I don't have parents to supply things for my needs like some teachers do.
Additionally, it is generally the school counselors who have to stay late counting and sorting and bubbling - not the teachers or administrators. All School Counselors are required to have a master's degree. Instead of doing our jobs and working with students who need our services and providing good, proactive counseling services to our schools, we spend our time creating testing schedules, test administrator/proctor assignments, printing and cutting testing tickets, and bubbling thousands of bubbles.
I work in a county that still has not gotten their tests shipped. We have moved our testing schedule way too many times. Teachers have had to adjust their lesson plans every time a testing schedule is change. Enough is enough. Everyone feels like this test should never have happened. The state needs to clean up their mess, cancel the testing for this year and come up with a new plan for the future. We are doing nothing but torturing our students and school faculty. And for what?
The 8th grade ELA had some of the test books come in and the pages were in the wrong order. For example 1-4, 8-12, 5-7 along those lines. Books had to be taken apart and put together correctly. We spent 1 and 1/2 hours waiting to determine what we should do about the test. Then, we had to collect all books, pull them apart, put them in the correct order, and staple them.
Click HERE for step-by-step instructions.
Want to do something about it?
Contact Governor Haslam.
Phone: (615) 741-2001
(And click HERE to find your legislators to contact them, too!)