IREAD-3 is a state assessment given to third grade students to measure foundational reading standards. It is high stakes. Though I personally think that giving a high stakes assessment during a Pandemic ignores the realities of what our kids and families are facing during this time, we are giving the test because we have to.
I admit, every bit of me cringed knowing that we had to ask families who had made a choice for their child to stay home and learn online this year for a variety of reasons, to come into a building and test.
I spent the majority of the last week and a half working through arrangements, talking with parents, collaborating with others, and checking on space so that we could complete two mornings of testing. Every minute I put toward logistical planning takes away from the strategic planning and work that helps move a district forward.
The same will happen for ILEARN. And I know that we have teams of people at both the building level and at the district level that will sacrifice time to think about what’s important to work through the logistics of testing. The hours taken away from concentrating on teaching and learning to plan for actual administration is disheartening.
And though it is disheartening, I loved every moment of our testing today. Why? Because I spent two mornings with amazing and wonderful third grade learners who came in like champs to take their test. The first day there was some trepidation; the second day brought more confidence. But both days, students were able to see their online teacher IN PERSON and that was priceless! One girl shared with me that she went home and clapped and jumped up and down that she was so excited to meet her teacher. A first grade student who was in the car with a third grade sibling saw her online teacher and said, “You are REAL” – the kids seeing their teachers put a smile on my face.
What can I say, just being with kids put a smile on my face. From the student who stopped in his tracks and said I forgot something (his iPad – pretty important for test taking) to the student who asked for a charger right away to the student who taught me you can swipe down on an iPad to access the numbers… all brought me joy today.
So though I was not excited about testing during a Pandemic, I was reminded why we do the work we do as I met each student and talked with their family members. And now that the two days are over I reflect on those that made it possible: The administrator of the building we used; the custodian; the SRO; the secretary; the three teachers who administered the test; the data and assessment coordinator, the director of learning, and the 8 people from our cabinet who came to help with drop off and pick up. I am so appreciative of all these people because I recognize that all of them were taken away from their projects to be with us and serve. And though everyone was happy to help, it kept them from doing other work that benefits children.
Sometimes we don’t have a choice, so we do the best we can to make it happen yet it is always at a cost. I have to wonder… is this cost considered as those not working directly with children are making decisions for schools and districts?
It’s the 14th annual Slice of Life Story Challenge!
Head on over to Two Writing Teachers
and see what the rest of this year’s slicers are up to!