Say you’re a teacher with a diverse and exciting group of students who have found learning together an exciting prospect. You have had ups and downs, but each day has ended with more students feeling positive about their ability to learn, and each day investing more in the process. Then, a couple of weeks into the school year, you have to make the first stop in this process. The first Pearson-created standardized test has landed on your desk.
Teaching/learning has to stop. You hide your face from your students as you grit your teeth. You tell them, as always, not to worry. You tell them no one expects them to get all of the answers right, but you do expect them to do their very best. You know they will, as they will want to show everyone how smart they are, just as they’ve shown you in so many ways. But inside you cringe …
You stand in front of the class and read a sentence to the children. You are allowed to repeat the sentence only once. Then the students select one of four pictures that they think most reflects what the sentence says. The children look determined; they are ready; you begin.
The first question seems harmless enough. The students look okay. Then you get to the second question. Of 106 questions.