It hasn’t even been a full month of school yet, and we are already gearing up for assessments. At the beginning of the year my school conducts a series of informal and formal assessments to show where the kids are. Part of me feels like this is a good thing in that I can get an idea where my students are academically. However, the other part of me wants to know why we do this to kids so early on. It doesn’t seem fair that I have to give my students an assessment where they won’t know what to do. I can see where kids would get frustrated. I question myself and wonder do I really need a pre-test to tell me that many of my second grade students will not know how to multiply or divide. They may not even know how to add or subtract with regrouping. I already know this. So, I don’t know why I need to give the assessment. What is frustrating to me is that these assessments do not align with what I am actually teaching in the classroom. The assessments for me are not authentic. However, I continue to give the assessments because I don’t want to be the only teacher who doesn’t give them.
Some teachers may argue that we need a baseline, some number, at the beginning so we can determine if a student grew academically at the end of the year. At times I just feel like I am collecting numbers. I also know that these numbers are what I am being judged on. It lets others know how efficiently and effectively I have done my job. So, even though I hate collecting the numbers, I also know it is neccesary.
So, in the next few weeks, I will be giving my students a math assessment, a writing assessment, and a computer-assisted assessment (MAP test). Then I can get on with my job of teaching, and students can get on with their learning.