Making Teachers Take Assessment Tests

This past week students in our school district spent a major part of their time taking CMAS tests. CMAS stands for Colorado Measures of Academic Success. Students are tested in subjects such as math, science, and language arts. School districts get anxiety shivers considering what their CMAS test scores will be…or won’t be.

On Day Two one of my eighth-grade students suggested, maybe more in a pouting sort of voice, that teachers be made to take the CMAS tests and that students would be the proctors. I tried to assure the student that teachers are not the ones who have decided that students should be subjected to the excruciatingly long exams, that it has come from the higher, higher ups. Having served on a school board in Michigan years ago, I am acutely aware of certain elected officials who seemed to be suspicious of teachers, that they were freeloaders who only worked nine months out of the year but got paid for twelve.

Anyway, the whining student had gone deaf to my insights. Teachers should have to sit and be quiet for…like an eternity! (Her words.) Here’s the rest of our conversation, some of it told in the tradition of Paul Bunyan and his blue ox named Babe, and some of it true. You’ll have to determine where the truth ends and the imagination begins.

I asked the pout-faced eighth-grader what she thought they should be tested on?

“I don’t know, but they should have to write essays and do maths problems that make no sense whatsoever.”

“Anything else?”

“Yes, they should have to listen to long, boring speeches that cause your eyelids to close and then have to write down what was just said…and get no restroom breaks or be allowed to listen to music.”

“And what would the tests prove?”
Stumped. “I don’t know, but they should have to take them.”

“Could they opt out?”

“Absolutely not!”

“But there are about twenty-five students in each class. Would all twenty-five be the test proctors for the one teacher?”

“Why not? It makes me nervous when you watch me take the test. Why shouldn’t all of us watch you take it?”

“And it seems like I rewarded each one of you with chocolate at the end. Would each of you reward me?”

“Now you’re being ridiculous!”

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