Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Reading Boss

I administered yet another standardized test to my students today. Upon seeing our agenda, they literally groaned with disbelief. I shrugged in sympathy. There is nothing I can do about the 20 days (4 full weeks) of instruction and learning in my class that is replaced by mandated testing. Still, I hate for the kids to get discouraged so early in the year.

"Oh! This one's different," I said. "First you pick the type of passages you like so they give you questions you will find interesting."

They did not seem sold. "How many questions are there?" someone asked.

"It depends," I told them. "It's like..." I grasped for a simile. "It's like a video game. You keep answering until you get a certain number wrong, and then they end your test, tell you thanks for playing, and give you a score."

This they found intriguing. "Do they tell you when you get one wrong?"

"Only during the practice test," I said.

They began to strategize. "Do they get harder as you go?"

I nodded, and I could almost hear the gears turning.

"What if you never miss any?" someone asked. "Do you have to keep going forever?"

"No," I answered. "Eventually, you beat the test."

I guess they had never thought of it that way.

"When can we start!?"


  1. I've been saying that I think we could make standardized testing work better if it ran like a video game. Let them keep taking the test until they can beat the level. It makes more sense than plunking them down at their current grade level test when they might not have passed the previous years test.

    1. You are definitely on to something, Emily!