Today is day two of of the three-day New York State English Language Arts Exam and in my ten-plus years of proctoring and scoring these exams, it never ceases to amaze me when, just a few minutes into the tests, students’ eyes start to glaze over and their bladders and throats go into overdrive, causing a mass exodus to either the bathroom or the water fountain. What are such behaviors really about? Why am I constantly witnessing students who just don’t have the wherewithal or fortitude to take these annual standardized assessments? By the time they get to me in middle school, they’ve sat for their State ELA exam for at least four years so it’s not like the test is new to them. What’s going on? What’s the problem?
Before you begin with the whole “standardized tests are biased and unnecessary” argument, just pause. That’s not what this post is about and unless there is a radical (and I mean RADICAL) shift in the way this capitalist country educates our children, standardized tests aren’t going anywhere. Are we clear? Okay, good.