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Differentiated Standardization? Project 180, Day 137

Day Two. Well, day one for some. We opted to go with a two-hour block schedule for the first four days of testing this year. Yesterday, we had periods one, three, five; today, we will have two, four, six, so in reality, for these kids it will be day one. Not sure if the block schedule will be advantageous. In briefly talking to the kids, many felt it was too long, and beyond that, those who tested yesterday, won’t get back to it until tomorrow, and some felt like that was not fair since it would no longer be fresh in their minds. Not sure what the best approach is. But I’ll likely suggest we go back to the one-hour testing schedule next year.

Each period we wrapped up a little early, and in overhearing the kids talk, I discovered that not only are there many different topics but there is also a mix of modes, either explanatory or argumentative. And while this is not completely unexpected, the variety seems more pronounced this year. And I wonder about that. I wonder if our “vetting process” for the tests is so reliable and accurate that truly equitable conditions exist for all kids. Are we in an age of differentiated standardization? Is that possible? Is this a kid consideration, or is it a test-manufacturer’s selling point? Like, “Oh, look, we offer a number of standardized options that cover various topics in different modes. And now, if you want to truly teach to the test, to succeed on the test you must access our interim assessments.” Of course, these interim tests are not being offered altruistically; they come with a price. Not sure I trust that which comes with a price. Not sure that I trust an education-for-profit approach. But I do trust my instincts, and in so doing, I am not sure this differentiated approach is equitable, nor do I think it will settle the anti-standardization crowd. How do I get behind this when I hear one kid say to another, “Why did you get that topic? My topic sucks.”? And then, inevitably, eyes turn to me with a what-gives-Sy accusation. But I have to ignore it. I can’t talk to the kids–my kids–about it. It’s against the rules. It’s outta my hands. It’s in the hands of those who apparently know better than I. I am no longer the teacher. I am the betrayer. At least that’s how I feel. Sorry kiddos. I don’t know what gives. And even if I did, I’m not sure I could explain it.

Happy Tuesday, all. Grumble. Grumble.

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