Yesterday was another killer and has left me drained and stressed -- it is after midnight and after tossing, turning, and remaining totally awake for almost two hours, I am out of bed for a cup of hot milk, and trying to determine what keeps me awake tonight.
Day 2 of State/Federally mandated, NCLB testing was horrible.
All year I have been working with several of my VERY LOW kids. Helping them realize they can learn to read, and getting them to actually read. They have gained skills. They are reading at home. They are learning. They are 5th graders, just learning to read and have begun to see themselves as "readers."
Telling them how hard work pays off, getting them to do homework, to read on their own, to choose books they can read and be proud of that. To believe, if they work, they can do it. I have witnessed a great awakening in them the last couple months as they read a passage, understand it, and KNOW they can read! I have watched them go from refusing to write, to writing longer and longer responses to passages they read.
I have been proctoring (supervising) a group of 5th graders. Their reading levels are so low, I have to read the Writing and Math tests to them. I can't read the reading test because, well it is assessing how well they can read. In their cases, it showed them how they CAN'T read; it is not appropriate for them. It is so far above them, we can't gain any insite, see any improvement. All it does is gives us a negative mark for No Child Left Behind, and makes students like the group I have realize they are less-than!
Day 1 of testing, I watched hope die in one of the students who realized how incredibly low his reading level is. He entered the testing room ready to show what he knows. I watched the belief he CAN learn to read dwindle. After the first passage, he gave up, turned pages as others in the room turned them, and filled in bubble after bubble, just guessing because the test was not appropriate for him.
Day 2 of testing, and more of that hope died to where I struggled to get him to follow along when I read the test. He guessed for most of it, I'm sure. I can't help them in any way, other than to read the test to them. For this child, I could also make sure he was marking the correct bubble for the question we were working on.
For that, I HATE NCLB.
I HATE mandated testing.
It is not fair.
It proves nothing.
And for those who need the most help, it destroys their belief they can learn.