The adventures of a fourth grade teacher in East Central Illinois.

A Day of Assessments

As a general rule, I try to avoid having multiple assessments on the same day. The only major exception is when we take the ISATs at the end of the year, and that is only because we are required to do it that way. Otherwise, I really try to avoid them.

But some days things just work out so much so that when it comes to doing or doing not, I have to do not. Today was one of those days. My students finished up the first chapter in our math book last Friday, so we reviewed yesterday with the plan to take the first chapter test this morning. At the same time, today was the day that the district required all of the teachers to administer two math benchmark tests, known as the M-CAP (math concepts and application) and M-COMP (math computation). Fortunately, these two benchmark assessments are quick, timed probes that take eight minutes each.

However, three math assessments wasn’t all we had for the day.  The students also had a spelling test to take today. This was different from typical spelling tests, because the students had not been given words to study and practice in advance. Instead, they were given 25 words that grew progressively more complex. (The first word was bed, the last word was opposition.)

I was a bit concerned about the prospects of bombarding my class with four assessments in one morning, but I didn’t want to delay the chapter test any further, since the students had already been prepping themselves for it, and I needed to do the benchmarks today.

As it turned out, there was no need for me to be the least bit concerned! My students truly are awesome! Our fine arts time is about an hour after the day gets started, so I was able to space the tests out so they weren’t stacked up one after another without any breaks. Instead, they took one of the math benchmarks and then I let them talk amongst themselves for a few minutes to take a break. Then they took the second math benchmark and talked freely as I organised the probes. We had about 20 minutes left before fine arts, so we were able to take the spelling test before art. The timing could not have been more perfect!

After art, the students took the math test with a substitute teacher while I went to a meeting in the building to discuss students with special needs. (This is a meeting that takes place about once a month and allows us to collaborate on specific learning targets and monitor students’ progress.) When I returned to the room, I was super happy to see that everyone had been focused on the test! The substitute teacher told me that they were, and I quote, “awesome!” After everyone finished, I gave them about five minutes or so to get up and move around before we wrapped up our morning.

I hope that I won’t have events conspire in such a way that we will have another day full of assessments, but if we ever do, I am confident my students will once again rise to the challenge and prove that they can accomplish anything they set their minds to!

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