If you are a teacher at any grade level you know what a standardized test is, you know what CRCT, EOCT, and GHSGT stand for, you know what it is to proctor. This visual journal page was made somewhat accidentally for the world of standardized tests. As a teacher at some point you will have to proctor a test. I end up proctoring at least one standardized test a year… most of the time more than three…
As many of you probably know you aren’t allowed to do ANYTHING while you proctor, no computer, no book, no grading, no nothing… However, I’m not one of those people who can sit still and zone out… instead I always find a way to doodle. During one of these proctoring instances I was very bored while watching a group of juniors take the writing portion of the Georgia High School Graduation Test. I began my usual doodling activities and ended up drawing my keys. I hung onto it for awhile and finally decided it needed to go in my journal. I needed a space to vent about those stupid standardized tests…
It is really sad that almost all achievement is determined from standardizes tests. Students can’t move on to 4th grade, 6th grade, 9th grade, and high school graduation without passing certain tests. As a bad test taker I feel very strong about the fact that achievement cannot be determined by one test. Students, whether they are 9 or 18, understand the weight these tests carry… they understand that not only can it affect whether or not they get to move to the next grade level, stay with their friends, not be held back, but it can also affect how the schools look.
The concept of No Child Left Behind was good. It is an amazing goal to help every single child reach achievement in school… However, it just isn’t possible, and how can you hold schools and students to such high standards when it’s impossible to meet them? When a non-English speaking student suddenly moves to a school, and the next week is the CRCT, believe it or not that student is required to take that test, and that child’s score is added to the batch of scores that determine whether or not a school is reaching the standards set by No Child Left Behind.
In addition to pressure being put on schools, there have also been talks about determining teacher effectiveness through standardized test scores. I already feel that there are teachers out there that have so much pressure put on them by the school they are teaching students how to take the test, how to determine the right answer based on the wording of the question and answer options, rather than actually helping them understand the facts. Attaching teacher effectiveness and teacher pay to these scores will only increase that. I am thankful that I am an art teacher… I don’t have to deal with standardization in my classroom… but I worry that it is only a matter of time.
Luckily I am not the only one who recognizes the problem. Luckily the government is beginning to change No Child Left Behind. All I can hope is that they will reevaluate standardized tests altogether. Just because a child is not scoring well on a bubble in test doesn’t mean they are stupid, incapable, or behind. Maybe that child didn’t get enough sleep, maybe they didn’t get a good meal that morning, maybe their nerves got the best of them, maybe they just aren’t good test takers… Maybe their achievement shouldn’t be determined by one test.
I created this page around my keys doodle. I cut them out of notebook paper and glued them down using rubber cement. I knew I needed to add a background, and since I doodled this during a standardized test I thought it would be appropriate to create a background using the word “testing”. I used a sharpie and wrote the word over and over, overlapping it. I liked the way the texture looked, but it still needed more. I decided to use colored pencils to add a little color and make it a little more interesting.
What are your thoughts on and experiences with No Child Left Behind, standardized tests, and student achievement?
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