Sunday, July 30, 2017
FSA: A test administrator's perspective continues...
8:34 am edt
Day Six. I brought the book "Wherever
You Go, There You Are" by Jon Z. with me as a reminder to be patient and positive; to clear my mind in the "do-nothing-ness"
of standardized testing.
"Do not use cell phone, classroom
phones, or computer devices (except to monitor student progress or to contact your school assessment coordinator or technology
coordinator in case of a technical issue or emergency. Do not check emails, grade papers, etc. Your full attention
should be on students AT ALL TIMES."
So, I am, according to the Test
Administration Manual, only allowed to look at children's backs for days and days and days and hours and hours and hours.
It puts me to mind of prison's solitary confinement. I've often wondered
what people have in their heads then. upon what mental resources they call. What sustains them.
It is not working for me. Although I wish to be "standardized mindful"
and "standardized present"--like a "FLDOE-do-what-Iam-told-robot"--it feels impossible.
This, then, is the only thing keeping me sane. I oppose--as an educator
and as a parent this ennui and boredom for children. As an educator and as a parent, I am mad!
My mindful meditation is this" Poor kids, poor kids, poor, poor kids...."
I. Am. A. Standardized. Drone. Hmmm. I really cannot
meditate because I must "WATCH" and "CHECK PROGRESS."
Do "mandated nothing...."
GOTTA GET OUTTA HERE, JON! Mindfulness is NOT WORKING!
But humor is....
Friday, July 21, 2017
7:42 pm edt
"There are so many variables to this big
bad boy. If the FSA really were a boy, I wouldn't want my daughter dating this insecure and pompous bastard! The cruel
SOB with his capricious power surges just makes more work for me. Oh, there he sits in his high and mighty Tallahassee
Inside the "testing arena...".
I HATE seeing raised hands and expectant faces! (Eighth grade reading--timed).
A student just got bumped out. My heart's pounding. I DO NOT WANT TO TOUCH ANYTHING! She had to sign in again.
And I had to approve her again, while everyone else waited. Three computers, after having the FSA secure screen
"ready to go" wouldn't work. Our WiFi was "in the yellow?" Quickly moved those children to a different
This "dance" is coordinated
by our assistant principal. I complimented him today on his positive attitude. It's quite a feat--like a Broadway
play. Enter stage left!!! He's the director. I'm just a stage hand, "pulling curtains open..." Turning
on computers, creating testing session IDs.
She's IN! She's IN! She's IN!
is really loud" she says as she checks the sound. I can hear it from here. How to lower it? Is it disturbing...?
"Miss, How do I go to the next
WEREN'T THESE KIDS TRAINED?!
I am reading every word of this script EVERY TIME DAMMIT! Sometimes
I read in a loud and brash way. Sometimes I have a British or Southern accent. Sometimes I am quiet and subdued.
Thoughts about data mining...maybe a camera
is secretly watching children and me. Do "they" see one is sleeping?
Students cannot submit tests until 85 minutes have passes. WHY? More
smoke and mirrors. Does the state believe that kids are actually and actively using every minute?! What nonsense!
Almost all done....restlessness started awhile ago....
Session 2 FSA ELA reading 8th grade. Before students arrived we
had a power surge. There are so many variables to this big bad boy! If the FSA really were a boy, I wouldn't want
my daughter dating this insecure and pompous bastard! The cruel SOB with his capricious power surges just makes more
work for me. Oh there he sits in his high and mighty Tallahassee finery! Gloating!
Hey! These are called TESTS! Yes! They are not assessments! "Students
in your operational test session." "Select tests". So why aren't they called Florida Standards Tests?
Less than half way through. Three students done! Could it
be they want to sleep? Could it be they know they are BEING USED?! Nahhhh....
It's 1320 and we don't finish until 1410. EGAD! BOREDOM!
More upcoming! This is keeping me SANE in the midst of all this
Saturday, July 15, 2017
Mobbed and bullied public education...
8:31 am edt
The FSA: It begins.
Details: ELL seventh grade. Ten children. One German speaking.
Eight Spanish speaking. One Portuguese. At least three or four speak and read hardly any English. Why? They
just arrived to the US.
I hear a lot of "clicking"
things. Went smoothly this morning. No big glitches like last year. Still, I ask myself what this is all
about. We've created a...?
Later that same day.
OK, so here I sit with one ESOL child. A boy. He's working
hard. He's' got nine more questions for today and I am not sure he'll finish in time. He's earnestly using the
dictionary in his native language. His English is really good. Maybe he'll get the all important "Level Three".
The other nine students were not so diligent. They clicked through
today's 29 questions in about 15 minutes.
I'm done. Miss, yo terminé.
I took me more time to read the
required "YOU MAY NOTS" to them than it took for some to finish the session.
They just don't seem to care that this community school's REPUTATION is in their
typing fingers! That my salary is at stake!
Do I look "administrative?" What does my commissioner
of education expect of me, one of her test administrators, to do? Just stand here hour after hour? Day after day? Week after
week? Does that look like what I'm doing? Well not right now, as I am writing this. Normally I'd be typing on
an ipad and my spelling would be auto-correctd (yep, I did that on purpose,did ya catch it?!) but not here. I probably
won't even be able to read this later, for it's written in furtive and fast cursive, but it seems a worthwhile effort.
It's keeping me sane.
Two boys from yesterday's part one test
are not here today. Both are from Cuba. One's been here one year and the other about six months. Although
I DID NOT READ any thing! Let me write that again: I DID NOT READ ANYTHING!, it's only an assumption on my part
that the story was about early American history. Maybe, if we'd had a reading segment--in English--on Cuban history,
the boys may have scored higher. That's only, again an assumption because...I DID NOT READ ANYTHING! Both boys,
in spite of having all the time they needed, finished in 30 minutes.
They are not here today for part two.
pep talk today: "Let's show the school that you deserve to be out of ESOL!"
I had to translate that for the Spanish speaking children. I struggled through
Portuguese as well. The German boy was on his own. He is the earnest boy who earnestly told me--in his very good
English--that he understands Spanish. Probably that's due to his being an earnest participant in our ESOL program (see
previous reference of Spanish/English class confusion).
...snorts and stretches. Fiddle, Fiddle with the dividers. "What?"
asks my mind, "What are we REALLY evaluating here?" READING?! REALLY!?
Or are we evaluating Spirit? Tolerance? Resilience? Grit?
Hey! These tests build character! Yes!
At least the children laughed.
Three girls with no place to go! Oh, what a waste of time!
What are we really testing? Stress tolerance? The effects
of boredom? High anxiety? How many have given up before they walk into the testing room door?
1143. we've returned from lunch. There are now four children who've finished and must sit. They have nothing to
do. Two have their heads down on the desk. One vacantly stares into space and another is braiding her hair. It
looks nice. Heidi braids down each side of her head. Now she's arranging her head scarf in a different--and quite
jaunty--fashion. It looks pretty. These children will be here until the next class. It begins between 2
What would parents say if they they
knew that although they send their beloveds to school to LEARN, at least during testing season, they're sent to sleep? No
wonder they act up when they are set free...