Tuesday, April 15, 2014

One Mom's Reflection on SBAC Testing: The Good and The Bad

Thumbs up to...

  • losing the good ‘ole fill in the bubbles. Instead, students were required to use their critical thinking and writing skills to develop well thought out answers.To do this they need to know academic vocabulary such as “evidence” and “text”.
  • evaluating an understanding of math and it's real life applications. After all, the purpose of math is to use it in real life right?I have a suspicion that this is not news to the homeschooling community! Most parent teachers I know teach math and real world applications on a daily basis as part of life.Recently, we were putting in a new deck and as my husband and son measured out the perimeter and figured out how much concrete to buy, I smugly checked off “math” for the day.
  • moving the test online.This was the part that made the adults nervous! Would the internet work? Would we be able to get all students logged on? When students were asked to highlight the text or scroll through the reading materials, they either already knew how or quickly caught on.For students who have limited experience on the computer, this year served as a great training opportunity for them with limited risk since test scores will not be released.
  • the opportunity to use the online environment to take a test is one that our students will experience again. Many businesses only accept online applications. Most job related and tests for educational institutions will be computerized. SBAC provides a safe place for them to practice online test taking. For students with test anxiety, testing presents the opportunity for us to help students manage their anxiety and develop strategies to cope in testing environments
    Some parents have expressed concern that the computer was somehow recording their student or gathering data. This is false. The computers were not recording students. Unfortunately, this scare tactic only serves to confuse and worry parents needlessly.
Thumbs Down To...

  • anybody who thinks the results matter more than the student. Students are whole people with emotions, artistic abilities, hopes, and skills that can not be measured by a test. Tests are one part of the picture, not the whole picture!