tests suck

Standardized testing sucks. Anyone involved in education knows that high stakes tests are here to stay. I have been around for about 10 years and feel the pressure build every year. This year I moved from middle school to high school. From MAP tests to EOC tests. From a low income urban school to a well faring rural school. From a district that was struggling with AYP to one that has not had issue with scores. I figured testing would be easier and my scores would reflect that.

I got my scores back this week. From the numbers I look like a failure. It looks like I did not teach my students any algebra. Only 20% of my students are proficient or advanced. No Child Left Behind says they should all be.

Let me tell you about my classes, though. I teach math. Some of my students have learning disabilities. Some of my students have criminal records. Some of my students missed a lot of days for rehab. Some of my students don’t have their own bed to sleep in every night. Some of my students work 40 hours a week. Some of my students are parents. All of my students have been burned in math in the past and have felt like failures.

So what if their scores don’t show it- all of my students learned this year. They learned to come to school everyday. They learned to push through that hard problem. They learned to ask for help when they need it rather than quit all together. They learned to trust a math teacher. They learned that it is possible to be successful in a math class. They even learned how to have fun in math.

Am I disappointed with my scores? Yes. Not because they are low but because they don’t show how awesome my students are. Those numbers don’t tell how far my students have come this year. Standardized testing sucks because it will never tell the whole story of a student. I could go on and on about this but I won’t.

I feel more successful than ever this year even if my scores are the worst I have ever had. I am going to borrow a line from a teacher I used to work with: “These are the best kids in America!”

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