Tomorrow is the official start of the testing season. I loathe this time of year because our attention turns from the real work of readers and writers to the work of learning how to take a test. Don’t get me wrong, I had to take tests, too. It’s not something new and I do see the value in getting a bead on student learning. But for some reason our kids are a nervous wreck about these high stakes tests. That’s what stinks the most. Honestly, I don’t remember getting prepped for a test, taking a test or anyone having to participate in remediation because of a test. Maybe it happened, but I don’t remember it.
Last week I worked with a group of sixth graders after school. We talked about standardized testing (they KNOW this phrase and that’s sad) and obstacles to feeling successful on these tests. Almost every single student (I was working with 12 or so) said they get anxious, their stomachs hurt, they have headaches, and the cannot stand it when other student fidget during a test. We talked through some of these issues and made categories of things we can control and this we can’t. We made lists and came up with solutions together. We laughed and just talked. I think the kids were relieved to find their fears, concerns, and ailments were shared by others.
What mlearned from this conversation with kids is that even when it comes to testing, we really just want to know we belong. For those of you monitoring tests tomorrow, good luck and don’t forget, test monitoring is prime time for isometric exercises!