Assessments, assessments, assessments. Not only are we in the midst of state testing, we are also talking about the effectiveness of this year's assessment calendar and planning for next year's benchmark tests and district-wide tests.
We know we need to measure our students' mastery of the curriculum. We also need to know how well our lesson design imparts mastery unto our students. We also need to know if the kids are walking out the door today with the skills they should be leaving with.
Test, test, test, test, test, test! We need them but have we embraced them? Have we gone overboard?
Many years ago, when the ideas of formative assessment and common assessments first hit my school, our principal put out a calendar for the tests that made some teachers cringe! Compared to previous years, the amount of testing tripled! (It has tripled again since then!)
I remember one teacher looking at the calendar and saying, "You don't fatten the pig by weighing it!"
Obviously, our kids are not farm animals, but the statement has provided a litmus test statement for me. Before any test, I now ask, "What will we use the data from this test for?" If we are giving a test because we feel the need to give a test, but there is no plan in place to utilize the data, I will question the necessity of the test!