Disheartened and Disgusted
- Author: Anonymous, Administrator, Principal
- State: NY
- Test: State test: Pearson
- Date: April 3 at 4:38 pm ET
As an administrator of a suburban public school, I have dedicated my life to educating young children… as a teacher, as a parent and as a school administrator. When asked, I will readily share that I believe my job to be exciting, invigorating and rewarding. I describe it as the best job a person can have. After all, I awake each morning eager to get to school because I have the privilege of spending many hours with students who bounce into school with a thirst for learning and a dedicated staff, who work tirelessly to provide the best education possible for their students. When the common core standards were first introduced, my staff and I did what we always do…we met, we conversed, we scrutinized the standards to gain an in-depth understanding, and then we organized our curriculum and collected materials so that we could work with our students to achieve the desired outcomes. As an experienced curriculum leader, I take my responsibility to students and teachers very seriously. Today, for the first time ever, I doubt my work and question what it is we are trying to teach children.
Each day of the ELA testing, I sat down to read the assessments my students were taking. I was appalled at what they were asked to answer and exhausted from reading and rereading passages over and over again. If I as an adult struggled with the task, I can only imagine how my students suffered.
Each day of the ELA testing, I have walked my building, peering into classrooms and observing my third, fourth and fifth graders attempting to complete what I have now termed a ludicrous ELA assessment. I became increasingly disheartened as I watched my young students, with anguished looks upon their faces, struggling to answer poorly worded and ambiguous questions based on text too difficult for them to comprehend. After twenty-nine years of administering standardized tests, I noted for the first time children handing in test booklets with many blank pages. Instead of children feeling exhilarated after completing the ELA because they knew they had successfully met the high expectations that have been set for them, the children were forlorn because they knew that they had failed to rise to the occasion. How could we have done this to young children????
Throughout the day, I have engaged in informal conversations with my teachers questioning how going forward we will try and prepare our youngsters for this exam. The answer is unanimous… preparing for this exam is impossible and so going forward, we will continue to do what we do best, teach children to embrace the joy of reading and writing. We will teach to the common core standards so that we prepare children for real-life reading … reading for enjoyment, reading for key ideas and details, reading for craft and structure, and reading for the integration of knowledge and ideas.
All of my life I have been a rule follower. Now, for the first time, I will become a staunch advocate for eliminating these assessments that have no validity and offer no legitimate data for improving students’ English Language Arts skills.