Monday, May 16, 2011

Testing Week Random Thoughts, Day 1

Random Thoughts BigAfter 4 solid weeks of test prep, the California STAR test begins today and will last the entire week. The week of, as well as the weeks leading up to, testing is always full of good stories.

  • Test practice the last few weeks has included A LOT of multiple choice practice with types of questions student might see as well as tips on how the test writers like to trick little kids. The last week of test practice, things changed a little for math. You see, the STAR math portion for 2nd grade is a little different than the rest of the tests. In second grade, we expect all students to be reading, but of course since all students are not EXACTLY the same, some are better than others. Therefore, in order to make it a math test and not a reading test, the teachers are given the math test directions and are allowed to read the directions to each problem on the test. What a great idea, right?!?! It sounds like it, but what the test doesn’t have is directions on the students’ booklets. The students have the multiple choice answers and possibly some numbers or pictures, but not the actual math question. Therefore, it becomes more of a listening test than a math test. Very few students are auditory, most are visual so let’s just say that having to listen clearly to 96 math questions without having them to look at is another kind of test practice. That’s what we did last week so the kids were prepared.
  • Unfortunately, this preparation wreaks havoc on the teacher! After giving an overview of how this test looks so different than what they were used to, we got started with some practice questions. As I began to read #1, I already noticed some glazed eyes. I reminded them, again, that I could only read the questions two times. I had a few more students ready. But not “B”. “B” is my video game addict. He plays video games constantly. I’m sorry – not video games in general but Halo which is a very violent, adult themed video game. Every day he comes in and has a story for me about video games. Well, B is very bright, but isn’t terribly focused on oral directions because I’m not wielding a sword and wearing a bikini while giving them. On our regular math tests, I read the directions for those who need them, while B stares and then reads them on his own and solves the problem when I’m done. Are you sensing a problem here? So as I read the directions to the first question, B wasn’t looking anywhere near his test booklet. While about half the class got started on the questions, I reminded B again, pointing to the questions, “I can only read these directions one more time. Make sure you follow along.” I continued for the second time and the rest of the class solved the problem. Moments later, B raised his hand, “Miss Delight, what do I do on this question?” That is when Miss Delight crawled into a fetal position under her desk.
  • On Thursday, the air conditioning in my classroom stopped working. It was 82 degrees in my classroom. After two days and three work order requests, it has yet to be looked at. Chances are, it won’t get fixed before the day starts today. I wonder what sweaty, drippy second graders who are about to pass out onto their test booklet will do to my test scores?
  • As I write this, my students are (hopefully) headed to bed. As they sleep, I will think about this song…

For some reason youtube wasn’t letting me imbed the video. Click the link to the original. It’s a couple of minutes, but very funny!


  1. I remember enjoying every moment of testing when I moved from 2nd to 3rd grade....NO MORE READING EVERY DIRECTION! And imagine once upon a time they gave the test to kindergartners!

    I'll be thinking of you this week!

  2. Blah, grrr, frickinfrackin, son of a gun, RAAAAAAAAAAAAR!

    Ahem. *Paste fake STAR smile on face.*