Assessment for the sake of assessment

I love data.  I’ll spend hours staring at numbers and seeing what trends pop out.  I just enjoy it!  However, I do not enjoy giving my kids tests.  I’d rather grade a project than a test, but tests are just plumb easier to grade and take less time.

So, I give tests.  I keep them as short as possible so that I can get my data and the kids use their time wisely.  Now that we know I’ve got nothing against tests or data, I do have an issue with something our district is doing.


Every Wednesday is early release.  We then have an hour and half to meet with our grade level teams and talk about what we can do as a team to increase student achievement.  We usually do some collaborative planning, share resources, or take care of things like planning field trips, spelling bees or other such projects.

This year, the distrct felt that it had a better idea.  Instead of meeting with our grade level every time we are now meeting with our District grade level.  The objective for these is very fuzzy too- “Create a formative assessment to give to all 4th graders in the district.”  What this assessment was suppose to be about, or on, or like was left up to us.  We have spent HALF of the meetings just deciding we’re going to do math, and base it off of the Common Core Standards.  (This took us 4 sessions.)  Today we actually sat down and wrote questions for the standard we’d chosen.  They’re good questions, and I’d be happy to use them on a test to see if my kids can do that skill.

I’m not happy with what the distrct is asking us to do with this data.

They’re asking us to do……. nothing.

I’m going to give my kids a 5-question assessment, get it graded, submit the data to the district and then…. nothing will happen.  I taught this standard a couple weeks ago.  I’ve already had my own assignments they’ve completed to show me if they are able to show this skill.  I’ve worked with the kids who struggle.

Why must I give this “test” if it doesn’t produce data that I’m going to use to help inform my data?


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