The Stress Test
Today, students across Oklahoma will suspend learning for two hours to participate in a state-mandated test of the computer systems that testing companies – CTB/McGraw-Hill and Measured Progress – will be using in a few months. Each of these companies gets millions from Oklahoma, but it is the students and teachers across the state testing their system for them.
The frustration caused from this is threefold. First, tests are way more important than they should be. They determine graduation, promotion to fourth grade, and public perception of our schools. We want the systems to work. More importantly, though, we want time to teach. Reading. Math. Science. History. Music. Computer education. Every time we go into the computer lab to test or pretend test, we lose valuable instructional time. In many schools throughout the state, computer classes get the worst end of the deal.
Second is the fact that with some of this, we are taking a practice test for practice tests. Measured Progress is developing tests that we will use next year. They are going to conduct field testing item tryouts during the testing window this spring. The hour schools spend on this will be a complete waste of time. Hopefully this doesn’t become the new standard for how we operate.
Third – and this one lingers from the original message schools received – is the threat handed down by the SDE for anyone who dares to teach from 9:00 to 11:00 today. Even though schools received a message with a much softer tone on Friday, the score hasn’t changed. I don’t believe the SDE really has the power or the will to revoke funding or credentials over this. I also don’t know anyone planning to test that belief right now.