Thursday, October 16, 2008

To MEAP or not to MEAP? ...what a good question.

"I believe that the testing of the student's achievements in order to see if he meets some criterion is directly contrary to the implications of therapy for significant learning" - Carl Rogers

Week 2

This week was even crazier because the students were doing MEAP testing. The excitement of picture day was long gone and instead was replaced with the dread of standardized testing they knew laid ahead of them. They were not happy to sit still and quiet for a long period of time and focus on a test. I started the day by still being in the remedial English class. We did SRA and then did a worksheet on the book we’re reading as a class. The kids were distracted and unfocused because they knew they would be testing soon. I walked around and tried to help them stay focused but most of them were filled with excuses: I lost my paper, I’m too cold to write, I don’t understand, I can’t read…etc. The day ended with me getting sent down to shelve books for the librarian. I was ok with this because I’m always up for helping out and as my teacher said, “Keep secretaries, custodians, and especially librarians on your good side, they can either make you or break you as an English teacher.” I thought this was a good lesson because sometimes they get shoved aside as the little people and do not get the recognition they deserve. As a future English teacher, it is important for me to know my resources and make sure I’ll be able to use them one day. The other part about being in the media center was that MEAP testing was going on there too. We learn and hear so much about MEAP and other standardized tests and how it is not an adequate assessment of student’s ability, so I was interested in seeing the test in action. I saw the tests passed out, the directions on not to open it, and the teachers monotone voice reading the directions.

I realized how much everyone hates this exam. Students are depressed about having to sit for hours doing a boring exam; teachers are angry it wastes class time and they have to force kids to engage in it. Now, with school funding being placed on these tests results, students and teachers are under even more pressure. I just think it is such a shame that teachers are forced to teach towards a test that is so frustrating for everyone involved. Teachers have to take time out and make sure their students are ready for the test and then try and keep kids spirits high so they put some effort into the test. There has to be a better way to go about this. Just some food for thought…

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