Common Core Field Testing This Week

Oh my. We started the Smarter Balanced Field testing today. My students were completely flummoxed by it all. Actually, I was too, at first. I couldn’t log in, and the test doesn’t begin until the Test Administrator logs in.  Once we got that resolved, they logged into the test. One of the first things they had to do was check to see that they could hear sounds through their headphones.  It took an inordinate time to debug that and get them all working. Finally they were ready to begin the test.

They logged into the ELA test, and immediately hands flew up. “My headphones aren’t working. I can’t hear it.” I had to explain that the test was not going to read the long selections to them. They would have to not only read the selections, but read the answer possibilities and the task they were to complete. They were aghast that they’d have to read all that. The headphones gave them the idea that the text would be read to them. No sooner had I disabused them of that notion when one student came upon a question that involved listening to something. That caused an uproar. A shout went up,”I want mine read to me too. His is being read to him!!”  No amount of explaining would convince him that the other student had a different kind of question than he had.

Finally I was able to calm him down and convince him that he really had to read all that text. Then another student raised his hand and called me over to answer a question. It seemed that he had logged into the wrong test, as had his four friends, so they had to log out and begin anew. Now I have no idea whether they will be able to do the portion that they opened today. Probably not, but it’s a field test so who cares? They will, I can tell you.  Once they realize they can’t finish it they’ll be frantic for a minute or two.

Several students have already finished the ELA test. When you write a word or two in the place of a paragraph, it takes no time at all to finish. The test even helps you out, ending itself as soon as you get a preponderance of wrong answers. One student only made it to seventeen questions before it ended. Another got to twenty-seven. I have no idea how many questions are available if one is actually answering the questions proficiently.

By the end of four periods of this I felt rubbery.  And we are scheduled for six more days of it! I’d better have an alternate activity ready because there is no way we’re lasting another six days. I certainly have my work cut out for me next year, when the test actually counts!  Ugh.  Is anyone else giving this test this year? I hope it’s going better for you than it is for us!


8 thoughts on “Common Core Field Testing This Week

  1. dkzody says:

    Well, I don’t like your situation, but I like how you tell us about it. I know Fresno Unified is also field testing but have not heard any comments yet. I think the high school tests begin tomorrow.

  2. dogtrax says:

    This whole field testing on this scale continues to rub me the wrong way. We’re a PARCC state, and it has had its own challenges. But six days of field testing? Double yikes.

    • Lynn Jacobs says:

      I agree. I hate to let the students know that the results don’t count, because I think they will just blow off the whole thing. But the truth is, it doesn’t count. We don’t even get scores. It is beyond the scope of my students’ readiness this year, so at least it is giving me some insight as to what to do next year. There is no way we can make this last six days! We’ll be done by Friday or sooner.

  3. Gail Desler says:

    In my district, along with the SBAC field testing came funding to purchase laptop carts. As upset as I initially was that the CCSS were barely in place when, once again, it was all about testing, the upside is that the Chromebooks stay at the sites. I am hoping that once students have completed (and teacher have survived) the field testing, the increased student access to updated technology within the classrooms will out weigh the testing fiascoes and potholes.

    Thanks for sharing and starting this conversation, Lynn

    • Lynn Jacobs says:

      Hi Gail. Last year we did the field test on iPads, which had their own difficulties. This year it is in the computer lab. I sort of feel like I’m herding cats in here. I agree about increased access to technology. I’m hoping to take advantage of that to be able to create some interesting projects in the future. The one benefit to going through this, I suppose, is that I’m becoming more aware of what’s coming for them in the way of what they need to know so they don’t feel so at sea when it counts.

  4. blkdrama says:

    Yes, that’s the upside Gail and when these stupid, destructive tests go away for good we will be using those chromebooks to create digital portfolios for a more authentic assessment. Right?

    • Lynn Jacobs says:

      I think the idea of digital portfolios is a great one, and I hope to still be around when we begin to use them. I suppose we could get started so we’ll be ready when they come. More, I hope to still be around when the tests implode and we’re done with them! But I”m not holding my breath!

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