Comic Strip & Field Blog #2

On the day of the team test, Mr. D and I were discussing the different scenarios we would see throughout the day. I remember discussing in class the pressures of testing on students and especially when it comes to second-guessing themselves. So I created a goal for myself, any students that were nervous or struggling, I would want to build confidence in them. I would want them to feel okay with the fact that they may be nervous, but instill in their minds that they are capable, hard-working students.

With team tests, this is the perfect opportunity to watch students build each other up. While these tests also prepare students for state testing, it’s really important that they can work together as a team. I remember one of Mr. D’s students, named Grace. She came up to me while her group was working on the test, and told me that they were having a really hard time finding an angle in the diagram. I walked over to her table and I saw that there were a lot of missing parts. I had talked to Mr. D earlier about what to do if a table or a student asks a question and he replied: challenge them. So I asked her questions about this question. I wanted to see what she knew so that she would realize that she knew this and that she could do this. I made her think about. the relationships between the angles she did have and the ones that were missing, as well as thinking about the vocabulary we learned about angle relationships. I noticed that given this, her and her group took off. They were able to think more clearly, which made them more calm, and in the end, helping them succeed.

By the end of the day, I had helped Mr. D grade all of the team tests. The. scores were very high, with the team’s lowest score at an 87% which I was very impressed by. However, it made me start to think about standardized testing and why schools do it general, especially with math. Math is one of the main subjects that states test on and it creates immense pressure for students and teachers. Individualized tests and team tests can work together to overcome those standardized tests. I believe that putting students in a system where they are compared to other students across the state is not fair. State testing does not keep in mind the difference in teachers, teachings, funding, how far they get into the curriculum, or students who struggle with disabilities. The New teacher Book addresses the thought that standardized testing isn’t the best option. In the chapter, Beyond the Test Scores by James Noonan, he notes, “At the classroom level, teacher-designed and curriculum embedded performance assessments offer teachers a more nuanced and authentic way to assess student learning, that could over time replace standardized testing” (Noonan 243).

Watching those students work together, work through each and every problem as a team, reminded me that there is so much to testing than just “testing for content”. It’s also about goals that you set for yourself or for your team. It means growth and watching a student progress and supporting them the entire way. It’s crucial that we teach that first. That students are more than just a grade, but that they are human, that they have purpose, goals, dreams, and that they are all different and that should be celebrated.

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