Teaching

It’s Testing Season in Texas

The EOCs for English this year are over in some districts, ongoing in others. The test this year is an amalgamation of last year’s two separate tests for reading and writing. The powers at Pearson combined the two four-hour tests into one five-hour monstrosity at the behest of our legislators here in Texas. It was anyone’s guess as to how this would impact students, but the intent was to reduce the time spent (wasted) on testing our kids. 

So far, I don’t think our kids feel confident about their anticipated results, regardless of their knowledge of English and their preparations to take the test. Students report feeling rushed and worse, not finishing their tests. This is so disheartening — we spend the majority of the year teaching them both English and instructing them on how to take a test like this and they don’t feel they have the time to properly perform. 

In general, I’ve seen faces marked by anxiety and fear that their efforts were not good enough. Some students reported that they could not answer their test questions due to medication issues (sleepiness is a side-effect of many medications students take). They report just trying to complete the test even without reading the questions. 

I’m still not sure how this system, this test, achieves what the Texas legislature or the POTUS hope to achieve. What it does achieve is erroneous data and a sense of wide-spread hopelessness among students. Our students are left feeling like they have no options and our teachers are made to feel ineffective at best. Meanwhile, campaigning politicians ironically point to our failing schools — a failure engineered by the politicians themselves. 

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