"Why aren’t we practicing for the CMT’S?"

My students are quite perplexed that this year there is very little emphasis on our state tests.  As a district, we are no longer prepping for these tests and we have been told that a drop in scores is expected as we have started initiating the common core.  

Today at rehearsal a girl was shocked that we have rehearsal the weeks of the test. “But we have CMT’S!” I asked her if they really mattered that much to her: “Well yeah! They’re like…mastery tests!”

"What does that mean to you?"

"…I don’t know. But…I know they’re important."

Ugh. These poor kids have been so indoctrinated to care about these dumb tests. And so have I. The only reason I really see it this year is because I no longer feel stressed about them. [I still want my kids to do well but that is totally a misplaced pride thing, not because I think the tests show what my students know or can do. They don’t.] The kids are actually confused about why we aren’t drilling them.  And of course I got the obligatory, “So after the tests we can kind of relax for the year, right?”

Because truly, school does relax. And so do the teachers. Administrators stop coming by and there are less benchmarks. It’s so gross.  Hopefully the learning climate can improve during the next few years when the state tests are not so important. However, I already see administrators unsure about what to really care about now that test scores are not the end-all-be-all.

Unfortunately, I know they will be again soon. And we’re still going to hear about our scores and ways to improve…which would be great if the data actually came from seeing our kids do meaningful work.

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