Wednesday, May 18, 2016

J is for Just One More Thing

If you ask me, any assessment should be low stakes because, like Heisenberg famously asserted, you change anything by trying to measure it. That principle is especially true when it comes to middle school standardized tests. We make such a big fuss over them that it seems to hard to believe they could possibly be an accurate measure.

Oh, we are always motivated by good intentions; the tests have become so important, that we just want our students to do the very best they can. And so we give them boot camps, review sessions, and pep talks in the weeks leading up to the test, and then on the day of there are wristbands, pencils, bookmarks, and a free breakfast for everyone.

So today, after all that, when we finally sat down to actually start the test, one student raised his hand. "Do we get mints?" he wanted to know.

The answer was actually yes; I was saving them for a little later, but I really couldn't help myself when I replied, "Oh my gosh! Is this the SOL or an all you can eat buffet??"

The group laughed, and I gave them their Wint-o-green Lifesavers before starting my script, Today you are taking the sixth grade reading SOL... and crossing my fingers that they would all pass.

Life Lesson: "An expert is someone who knows some of the worst mistakes that can be made in his subject, and how to avoid them." ~Werner Heisenberg

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