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5.21: Too Much Testing Going On?

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Bill asks the representatives, Are you picking up "rumblings" about too much testing going on? The problem, he is told, is managing everything. Teachers are overwhelmed. Mia, the writing specialist, provided assistance and was instrumental in helping teachers manage it all. But doing all the assessments--"a stack of tests"--seemed to leave time for little else. One representative reports that the Hazeltine writing guide that Bill introduced was a great help and "seemed to alleviate a lot of anxiety." Notice two key things about what Bill does in this segment. First, he poses a key question: "Are there rumblings about too much testing?" This is an enormous issue in the current high-stakes, hyper-assessment environment. Second, he says nothing for the next few minutes. He listens attentively and lets the teachers characterize the issues and challenges they see. He does NOT offer an answer or solution to everything. He listens.


	Are you guys picking up rumblings from the grade
	level that there is just too much testing going on.  Or is
	it probably a matter of them not quite yet having the big
	picture yet and seeing where it all comes--


	It's managing doing the testing and managing their
	classrooms at the same time.  (Ts: Yeah, uh-huh)  It's a
	management thing.  They're overwhelmed because-- I, I
	believe some of the teachers are having trouble just
	managing the classrooms, period, and then when they're given
	something else to do now of another set of things, and they
	get flustered and then it falls apart.


	I don't know if it's much of a management but more of
	a-- at first it did seen overwhelming, for a lot of the at
	least in the 4th grade level it seemed overwhelming for us,
	that there were all of these different tests and a lot of
	like the Santillana are very individual tests that you can't
	take whole groups.  And that management came came right
	away, and Mia was really nice enough to go to a lot of the
	different classrooms and help us out with that so I really
	thank you for that because you really helped a lot of 4th
	grade teachers who were having problems with that.  But I
	think that they're getting that sense that there was a lot
	in-- on top of teaching and doing the four domains of
	writing, not just, you know, summarizing and then comparing
	the rubrics.  And it just really felt overwhelming for a


	4th grade had the Stanford9, the writing component of
	it, and then we had performance assignments for the ELL kids
	(Bill:  Yes, yes), and it was just like, I remember one
	comment, (?) what else??  It was just like a stack of tests
	and it was where are we supposed to teach? And I think that
	maybe it was that by the end of this year we kind of you
	know, like this year is kind of like an experimentation
	figuring it out, how you are going to manage everything you
	need to do along with administering the test and not just
	focus on one thing. I think that this was like the trial,
	the practice and next year it's going to be a lot better. 
	(T:  Yeah, sure)  And we have this for like new teachers,
	maybe, and show that this is why we are doing this, they
	will be more accepting of it and they won't you know put up
	the front where, you know, I don't want to do all of these


	You gave us the Hazeltine writing (Bill:  Yeah)
	guidelines things.  I introduced them in common planning
	today, and they were like, oh, this will, ok I could it this
	way.  So it was like having like a little bit of guidance
	and a map of what should be done and when and the best to go
	about doing it, seemed to alleviate a lot of anxiety.