This morning, before school started, I went to a meeting about the logistics of this year's SBAC testing.
The SBAC is the computerized test that has replaced pencil-and-paper standardized testing in California.
Beginning next week - NEXT WEEK - I will have to begin administering the SBAC practice tests. Next week is January. I will have to begin administering practice tests in January. Please tell me you too find this insane. Instead of teaching my students, I will be supervising them practice taking a test. From 12:50 to 2:20 one day every week for six weeks. That's 1 1/2 hours per week multiplied by 6.
That's 9 hours of practicing how to take a test.
That's 9 hours this year. Students in 3rd grade will practice 9 hours this year, 9 hours next year, and 9 hours the year after next when they're in 5th grade. That's 27 hours of practicing how to test. Twenty-seven hours of their time in elementary school.
But let's get back to the January part of this. My students will be practicing how to take the end-of-year 4th grade test when they've only received 4th grade instruction for less than five months. The school year is 9 months.
But - you say - they're only practicing. It's not as if the practice test counts for anything.
Ahhh, but we're practicing starting next week because, at my school, 4th grade - the grade I teach - will begin testing - real testing - in March.
My school is large, and we don't have enough computers so that all the 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students can test at the same time, or even in the same month. So it was decided that, because 4th grade is thought of as a "review" year, but 3rd and 5th grade are thought of as years when new skills are taught, that it would be least unfair to test 4th grade first.
First. In March.
Oh, wait. Did I mention that I am currently administering the District's language arts writing assessment which requires SEVEN sessions. That means that, instead of teaching language arts for a week and a half, I'm administering a test.
And I haven't even told you about the District's math assessment.
(Celeste at Joyous Lessons found a great quote in Kingsley's The Water Babies that speaks to this absurdity. Here it is.)
I guess I'm done teaching for the year. In January. Boys and girls, turn on your devices. Let the testing begin...