Man I’m glad I’m doing these comics about My Friend Dahmer right now because I had to administer our schools End of Year (EOY) tests today and I could not BELIEVE some of the problems I encountered. You’d be in for some more comics along the lines of these, lemme tell ya.
One student logged into his Algebra test only to find that the answers were showing up on his screen… BUT NO QUESTIONS. None at all. He could choose an answer but he couldn’t know anything else about it. This crazy technical problem took 40 minutes to correct.
Another student attempted to use the graphic calculator provided in the test browser… only to find that the test would NOT allow her to switch functions. This is a super basic aspect of a graphic calculator and it didn’t work in her test for about half an hour. It finally started working with no prompting.
A third student wasn’t able to log into the test at all. Why? We have no idea because everything else about the thing looked right as rain on my end… and my administrator’s as well.
That’s to say nothing of the number of false starts, interrupted tests, and other garbage we’re wading through right now.
Here’s the thing – progress does mean failure. Of court it does! Sometimes coming up with a new, better way of doing things means failure on a grand scale, many times over until there is a step in the direction people want to go. Further, using standardized testing as a diagnostic is not a bad idea in and of itself! I was a big fan of the SRI testing we were doing a few years ago and the data we got from that test was helpful! There are ways to get this done and get it done well!
I would be SO much more comfortable with this if the directive our school received from the state was understanding and upfront about this. “Hey teachers and admin… we know there’s going to be problems administering this test. It’s the first time anyone’s attempted to do this on such a grand scale in our public schools. Make sure the students are making a good faith effort. Make sure you do your best as an educator to follow the protocols. Understand that this rollout is going to be far from perfect… and understand that WE understand that.”
Of course, that’s not what I’ve observed so far.