The students will take the practice writing assessment online. Each student is to be given two hours with at least one 15 minute break. I have five computers in my room, but I will have access to a cart of 20 laptops. Sounds good, right? Many of the laptops will only hold a charge for about an hour. What then? Many of the laptops are missing keys. Missing keys are going to be a huge problem for children who have only been exposed to a computer at school and for the most part, they are only familiar with the mouse and poking a few numbers and letters here and there. We are asking them to type an essay and they have not been exposed to typing nor should they be as their little hands are not ready! We will also be expecting them to use the split screen function, highlighting, cut/copy and paste functions. There isn't a spell check option, yet we have abandoned spelling this year to prepare for Common Core Standards to be put into place next year.
Also during the month of January, 3rd grade students will be taking the DEA which is a practice test for TCAP. This assessment is used to "predict" how they might do on TCAP. In February, 3rd grade students will be administered another CRA which is a pilot test to see how students might do on the PARCC assessment NEXT year! I have to abandon the curriculum I am supposed to teach which happens to be aligned with TCAP which my evaluation and pay will be tied to. For what? To see how my students might or might not do next year? I can tell you how they are going to do... very, very poorly! Because I have spent so much time this year practicing for tests that may or may not be administered next year.
The directions for the practice writing assessment for the practice writing assessment instruct students to write an "essay" after reading two complex texts. They are to compare and contrast and use key details from the text and they are to remember to follow the conventions of standard written English.
(Shared anonymously to protect this 3rd grade teacher in Shelby County)
Tennessee parents do not like this. Stop the incessant focus on testing. Let teachers teach, let students enjoy learning.
Legislators: Fund our schools so teachers and students have what they need to succeed.
School board members: Stop spending scarce resources on test-prep materials.
TN BOE members: Stop mandating these excessive and inappropriate tests.
Place a moratorium on testing until it is determined how Common Core will (or will not) be implemented. Otherwise, students are denied valuable instruction time just to collect data. Our children are over tested!
CHALLENGE: Tennessee parents want to see our legislators & school board members take some of these tests our children are forced to take. How about it??? Maybe a 5th grade TCAP, CRA, or pilot of the PARCC?