What Teachers Are Told to Say During State Testing vs. What They Really Want to Say

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Andy McCall author This article was written by Andy McCall. Andy is in his 9th year teaching, and does everything to honor his little girl, Penelope, who passed last year. He is the author of the new book: Pig & Steel. Check him out on his Blog. 

They want us to give a standardized test, but differentiate the learning. They want to lump all the learning into one grade, but want us to grow each child individually.

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You’ve done all you can to prepare your kids for the big da, but standardized testing this time of the year makes about as much sense as the directions they give for teachers to read.

As if the test anxiety isn’t enough, students have to listen to us speak like robots for 5 minutes about testing procedures. You probably say to yourself,

Why am I even reading these? They aren’t listening. Johnny is going to draw a monster truck on that blank page so why even bother?!?! 

But the fear of the words "Test Security" and "Test Breach" scare you so bad that you turn directly to page 2 and read it anyway. There’s nothing like a solid boring speech right before a test that determines both you and your student’s futures, right?

Here are few things they make us say on state testing days versus what we really want to say:

1. Opening Statement of the Test Booklet.

What we really want to say:

“Ok class, we are about to take the (state test name) test. Yes, this is the test we've been cramming for the last couple of weeks since it's not like we were busy doing ACTUAL schoolwork. We’ve gone over all of this information before, and although we prefer authentic learning tasks to these poorly written questions, you are to do your best work and make sure you have marked the correct answers for each question. Good luck kids... Oh, and somebody that has never been to our classroom is going to grade these and tell me whether you know the material and if I’ve done my job. Just remember, it isn’t about whether you’ll use these lessons at any point in life, it only matters to our politicians and policy makers that you know them today. Make sense? No, I know, not really. Alright, let's begin!”

2. "Do not open your test booklet until I've given all the instructions."

What we really want to say:

"Please just listen to me for a minute while I go over this. Hopefully it will make some sort of sense."

3. "Make all your marks heavy and dark."

What we really want to say:

"You better put some effort into this. Don’t start making designs or marking C for all the questions. It better at least look like you tried on this test!"

4. "Please look at page 1 of your test booklet and find the Reading 1 section of your answer sheet."

What we really want to say:

"Please be on the right page. Please be on the right page. Just get this part right. If nothing else just start this off right."

5. "We will now begin the Reading section of test 1.  You will have 55 minutes to answer 45 questions.  Remember to go back and check all of your work."

What we really want to say:

"You are going to have to get to it. None of this space cadet stuff. You are barely going to have enough time to read it all and make a good guess at some of these. If you skip any of these questions like the practice test last week, I’m going to lose it. Come back to planet Earth and get going!"

6. "Stop! This is the end of the reading section for test 1. Do not mark any more answers and do not go on to the next page."

What we really want to say:

"Stop! Collaborate and Listen… (you know it goes through your head) I really hope you answered everything and for the love of all things, please make sure you checked over something before time was up."

7. "I will now collect your test booklets and answer sheets.

What we really want to say:

"I’m going to come around and collect these. I'd better see all the answers filled in, and on the right page, or I’m going to smack you with this teacher edition, because both our lives are over."

8. Students, this is day 8... and the last day of testing for the 2018 test. 

What we really want to say:

"Hallelujah! We have finally made it to the Social Studies section. We're all zombies and none of this will be accurate, but we can do this!"


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