My students and I just survived 18 hours of sitting still, sitting silently, and filling in bubbles. Yeah, it’s high-stakes testing time. Yawn. I keep thinking of that fish in Finding Nemo who keeps howling “Bubbles! Buuuubbbbbles!” But standardized testing can take the fun out of anything, even bubbles.
Maybe especially bubbles. Unless they’re in a cocktail, which is still kind of fun after a long week of watching bored kids be boring.
However, people with an alphabet soup of college degrees after their names have determined that we learn important things from standardized testing. I decided to conduct my own in-depth study. Remember, I had 18 hours of close observation this week, plus the cumulative wisdom of three whole years at this.
Here are my conclusions:
- Do not draw flowers over the bar codes. It looks much cuter that way, but it screws something up somewhere and then somebody you will never meet will invalidate your test. Then everybody’s school average comes down, you have to retake the test, and we’re all sad. So. No flowers.
- The writing prompt does not suck as badly as that time your parents made you visit that great aunt of Mom’s who’d lost all her hair and teeth and they made you kiss her cheek anyway and she had bad breath and then she pinched your cheek. See? It’s all a matter of perspective.
- No. 2 pencils are not user-friendly. If the lead breaks, you can’t replace it. It’s dead after that. Even when the lead miraculously stays whole, it loses its pointiness, and you can’t get out of your seat to sharpen it. Plus it rolls, and when it rolls, even carpeting can’t stop it. And then you’re crawling on your hands and knees under that one girl’s chair until the proctor (that’s me) busts your pervy butt.
I’m sure I’ll have even more incredibly important findings once I care enough to pore over my research. In fact, I’m convinced there is much more to standardized testing besides bar codes and bubbles, but I can’t be bothered to figure it out. I’d need more degrees after my name to do that.
And a few cocktails. Don’t forget those.