Because I work with nearly the k-12 spectrum, there's plenty of state testing to go around in my life. I like that the high school portion is spread out over two weeks in two separate months, because when it was done in two solid weeks (like we do with elementary), it was killer. I don't care that it's cliche to say that kids need routine---it's still true. My own students are in no mood to do anything during testing weeks (even those who aren't testing expect to have a free ride) and the little ones are having some major behavior issues because their days are topsy-turvy.
I don't really think the test is bad. I also like the idea of this once a year dipstick. What I don't like is how the results are used. Nevertheless, I do what I can to make sure that my own students are prepared and positive. Thursday, I handed out pencils, erasers, and pencil sharpeners to all of my test takers---and wished them well. I ended up staying long enough to read the testing instructions to all 400 of our sophs. (Aside: I would SO have kicked ass if that had been a DIBELS oral fluency test. LOL) Friday, I went down to check in with my kiddos. Finding the 50 in the 400 wasn't too difficult since students were sitting alphabetically. As the tables were covered with paper, I made sure to write a "Good luck!" note to each kid before they arrived and just ask how things were going when I saw them. (Kids aren't allowed to talk about the test and I'm not allowed to see it.) Some of the other science teachers thought these were wonderful ideas to do both days...but they didn't seem to make it downstairs to support their own kiddos. While I understand their disinterest in standards and the test, I also think that we need to do what we can for our kiddos who are having to bear the burden. This is the first year that my students have come away from the test smiling and feeling confident. Some liked my note to them so much they tore off the paper from the table and took it home. Yep. I'm creating a bunch of science nerds. Go me!
I've been officially trained to proctor elementary testing, so we'll see if I get called into action this week. If anything, it would just be for babysitting kids who need more time to finish. We had some kids last week who needed the entire school day. Poor things.
In my teacher life, there are still more standards to move kids towards this year, so even though the WASL is over, we'll still be hitting the GLEs and working hard. I wish that the science scores would be back in June---as they are for all of the other tests. It's a long wait until September to see how my little ones did with an April test.