Day 35 (of 187) tests like the fsa…. why so serious?
I recently read on drudgereport an article about how the class of 2018 had one of the worst overall results on some standardized tests than ever before.
And it made me smile.
Because I hope each successive class does increasingly worse as we decrease the importance of tests (at least in the traditional mindset of a bunch of multiple choice questions and a couple of interesting ones)
Hopefully we can focus on some “others” ie…
Some of my thinking is influenced by a former assistant superintendent who cut her teeth in senior maths when during a discussion on tests she admitted she used them to confirm what she knew they could do….the formative focused part of me then pushed: if you already knew, why use a test….
Yet in some EdCamp sucks/doesn’t suck activities, when standardized tests come up, I often gravitate to the “doesn’t suck” side – because they can give us some insights into learning disabilities or gifted learning brains. But for all??
Well, I do know there is a lot of thought put into the questions. There are field tests. There are reviews. A lot more work than I put into the tests that I created (back when I used to do them).
To me they are like checking the oil of a car. It tells part of the story, but won’t tell you why your car is pulling to one side of the road….
In our province the FSAs have become very political. Even a parent pointed out that since the 1950s cars and phones and so many other things have changed….except schools and especially those @&*#% tests. And they have evolved – with some collaboration work and choices introduced. And essentially an “oil check” to see what was remembered from what should’ve been taught in earlier grades.
I’ve seen students shine in the multiple-strategy math section that showed that single step algorithms bored their brain but when math got interesting…..watch out! Another did not do well in the writing part, and when I explained the process she exclaimed “but we know he needs to have the topic the day before and time to think and talk before he writes” – which I fully agreed with her about and the FSA was able to show his struggles without some specific strategies…!
My own kids wrote the FSA in part so they could practice multiple choice questions which I hoped would be an oddity and not a weekly experience 😜
I would hope that most people who do not like tests like the FSA take a similar approach in their practice and their feedback about tests and their roles in learning. Some people do well on those type of tests and can still do those (and have them shared on their eportfolios) but “testing” and “evaluations” no longer need to be the same for each learner.
The classic image on “right fit evaluations”:
But more importantly, let’s not stress about the test. Take it or don’t. But be mindful in how it is used and why it is being used. But not just the FSA – any test- even one of my kids had a test saying he had a math learning disability and another that said he was gifted in math. It’s essentially a selfie. Showing one moment in time but not the everything!
Because if we were all evaluated by one selfie…..eek