It's that time again!

It's that time again!
Posted on 04/10/2019
Thankfully, the days are getting longer and the air is getting warmer. Something about seeing the sun more just brings a certain energy into schools and energy is what we need after a cold, dark winter. Spring weather means spring testing is starting or has started in our schools.  The thought of testing brings a host of emotions to a variety of people. The truth is our kids take a lot of tests.  Our elementary schools and middle school administer the MAP and iReady tests. The elementary schools also test reading with running records, AIMSweb, and implement assessments for their report cards. The middle school will wrap up the year with writing benchmarks and Algebra students will take their End of Course exam. The juniors have already taken the spring ACT and the rest of the high school will be taking their End of Course and Advanced Placement exams in a few weeks. Students at the Hart Career Center will be taking their Technical Skills Assessments at the end of April as well. All secondary students will have a host of summative tests too.  

This seems like a lot and it is easy to get into the mindset that all schools ever do is test. However, each of these tests gives educators valuable information on how to help our kids. Really, testing season is the perfect time to have a mind shift from, “We have to take ALLLLLLL these tests,” to “We get to show what we know on ALLLLLLL these tests.” When kids take tests seriously, the data is more accurate. The data helps teachers and administrators find places in the curriculum that need to be strengthened and places that the curriculum is solid.  The data also helps teachers determine individual interventions for specific kids. It also gives students the opportunity to start thinking about their own learning. This makes testing a very serious business because it tells us how well we taught.  

Shifting mindsets is hard, almost as hard as some of these tests!  However, what if we did this. What if we helped kids understand that doing their best makes our schools a better place. The old mindset is full of anxiety and every teacher in the district has seen a student who is just panicked to take the test. Finding a way to reframe our testing attitude helps kids understand that there is no test that will bring on the end of the world. As a matter of fact, if we focus on the effort that they put forth on the test and use tests results to help students improve, that is a powerful life lesson.  

This spring when you hear our students talking about testing.  Help us change the narrative. Instead of commiserating, help them get fired up to do their best.  Build up their confidence by telling you believe in them.  We sure do! We see kids growing every day in our schools, and we cannot wait for them to show those tests who’s boss!