It'll take us four weeks using four computer labs to get all 1200 or so kids through their tests in three subjects. And I've accommodated the five field trips during that time period, plus the local stock show.
I don't see how the end result is worth the hassle. Testing every student every year in three subjects? What happens to all that data? Do the students' score really change that much from year to year? If they get a 4 in 8th grade, what's the likelihood they'll get a lower score on subsequent tests? How can spending this amount of time and money be justified when the data is not immediately useful to teachers and students?
I understand that I'm supposed to look at the test results and say, "Oh look, my fourth period didn't know how to read a dictionary and my fifth period didn't know how to use a comma with an appositive." That's not what happens. The testing data doesn't come back in time to make a meaningful difference in my instruction. It's my own assessments that guide instruction.
Some may say the test exists because teachers' assessments may not be accurate or standards-based. Nope, they may not be. That means you have a problem with incompetent teachers. CRTs don't solve that problem. In fact, they make them worse by making the education profession even less appealing, and using up the money that would have attracted better teachers.
Some say that the state needs accurate data about student achievement to make decisions. I can see that. I just don't think they need as much data as they're taking. Why three subjects every year for every student? Why not test sample populations, or only test one subject per year? Education practice does not change so rapidly that you'd miss anything by only collecting data every few years.
Here is what I wish would happen:
- CRTs no more
- test only sample populations when needed
- teach to common standards (I hope the new standards are similar to the current standards. Our current English standards in Utah are very, very good.)
- Every school and teacher responsible for assessing student mastery of those common standards
- the school would be accountable (to the state and to the community) for creating accurate and transparent assessments