As you can see from the comments on my previous post, I have some amazingly creative readers! I was thinking more about fantastic classroom inventions this week because the kids have been taking their second round of benchmarks. (Benchmark tests are for the district). I wish I had a button that made all tests disappear. In the words of my husband: "They're testing AGAIN!?"
As teachers, we want our students to do their best. But I have issues with rewarding kids by how well they do on tests. And maybe this is just because I'm coming at it from a special education perspective... you know, what about those kids who try their hardest but still miss the mark? What about the kid with severe test anxiety? What about the kid who is just having an awful time at home right now? That's why I had to try not to cringe when the teachers in the lounge were talking about how they were "motivating" their students to do their best on the benchmark tests. One teacher told her students that she'll be making ice cream sundaes for kids who get 90 and above while all the other students just watch. Last year, for the state test, they promised a McDonald's Happy Meal for all the students who passed! One teacher told us that he was so depressed about how his kids did on the math benchmarks yesterday, that he ate every single cookie he had promised them as a reward IN FRONT OF THEM. Meanwhile, I'm trying not to choke on my lunch burrito.
These teachers happen to be very good and very caring teachers. I just don't understand what happens to common sense when testing comes around! But maybe I'm the one who is wrong here. Should I be throwing ice cream parties for the kids who passed? Do potentially better test results justify the means? What is your take on bribing (ahem, rewarding) for tests?