I've been testing every morning for the last three days. It's a district assessment for reading and it involves a lot of phonemic awareness activities, like: "Say 'nice'. Now say it again without the /n/". I have to record all the answers on this fancy Palm Pilot which then uploads all the student data into the computer.
It's a worthwhile test, actually, and it gives a pretty accurate picture of the students' reading abilities (I can't say that for all tests, unfortunately).
Usually the general ed. teachers are supposed to administer this test to their own students. But I don't know what the district is thinking! They give us a deadline, and then they're all: "Yeah, just pull one student at a time to the back of the room while the other students are doing something else."
Umm.... First of all this test takes 30 to 40 minutes to administer PER CHILD. Secondly, have the geniuses up at the district level never spent time with children? Especially young children? They are not independent and quiet enough to "do something else" while the teacher tests.
So the first grade teacher that I work with is pretty sure that I'm some sort of saint because I volunteered to do all the testing for this one. I really don't mind -- it's kind of a nice break from routine.
I feel bad for the kids that I know are really low, though. I have to give them a list of words to read, and even if they can't, they still have to try. I say "do your best", and if I sense that they are getting discouraged, I say something like "we just want to know which words to practice this year."
I was testing one such student yesterday. I gave him the word list to read (it starts out: get, cut, bump...). And he said:
"I don't know. I don't know. I don't know."
So I gave him my spiel about doing your best and just finding out what words he needs to practice. Then he turns to me and says:
"Yeah, I need to practice these before I go to college!"
While I was busy laughing on the inside, he added: "'Cuz I'm going to college next year!"