Today is the day where, according to the state of MN, 40% of my success as a teacher will be determined by 90 moody 5th graders ... Happy MCA Testing- May the odds be ever in my favor!

– written on Facebook by a suburban Minnesota teacher last spring


It’s testing season here in Minnesota. Maybe elsewhere too. If it’s not the MCA’s, it’s the NWEA’s or the MAP test or for the little ones, the DIBELS. No one, no not one school-age child in public school here in Minnesota it seems, is exempt from testing around here.

Can we talk about all this testing for a minute?

Just last spring it was reported that there’s been an uprising of families {encouraged by teachers} to opt out of testing at South High School in Minneapolis, joining a nationwide rebellion. A hundred out of 140 students opted out in the fall and over 250 students opted out of the spring MCA’s.

Teachers who encouraged parents and students to opt out say: “In our professional opinions, these tests interfere with real learning and are poor measures of student growth.” 

Minneapolis Public Schools research and assessment director Eric Moore said last year that he is FOR the testing and said that as a parent “I’d like to know how my student is doing compared to other students in the school, to other students in the state, and to other students across the country. Those are data points I use to measure my child’s progress…”

Yet teachers say that effective teachers can assess a student’s mastery of a skill through both formal and informal techniques. 

I applaud Governor Mark Dayton for throwing his two cents into the ring last week on Minnesota students being overtested but I'd like to see him take it a step further. What about these optional tests school districts are choosing to do in addition to the requirements? Education Commissioner Brenda Casselius says these have to go. "I think if you really want to address the issue of over-testing, you have to think about all the tests districts take, particularly some of these optional tests." 

Oh yeah, preach if Ms. Casselius. I'm with you.

Testing has always been a little bit of a hot button for me. Even before my now third grader started kindergarten, I read and watched with rapt attention as testing became more and more present in our classrooms. 

While I think assessment and evaluation in some respect is not only necessary but important I also worry about children. Recent reports say that student anxiety is at an all-time high and rates don't appear to be dropping off.

Neither do the tests.

I begin every day with 4th grade children at war with each other and their world. And today the state will measure their ability to sit for 2 hours and pass a standardized math test.- written on Facebook by a Minneapolis public school teacher last spring

How do you feel about standardized testing? Do you opt your kids out? As a parent, do you see the value in it or do you think of it as a necessary evil and go with it? As a teacher, do you feel the results are an adequate measurement or do you want to do away with it all? Tell me.

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