“How did your kids do?” and “What did you think?” were the questions on everyone’s lips this week, replacing the far more pleasant and important, “How are you?” and “What’s new?”
As my colleagues and I spilled into the halls in the hours following the conclusion of each session of the three-day 4-6+ hours ELA test, everyone was eager to share their opinions (few of which were favorable).
On one point we could all agree: The kids did their best. Confronted with what many considered inappropriately challenging passages and ambiguous, misleading, culturally-biased questions, the kids tried to make sense of it all and tried to make the most of their lot.
For my students’ part, I am happy to report that no one broke down over the pressure that could have crushed them if they let it. Some kids finished quickly and put their heads down for 90 minutes. Others took most of the time afforded them. My student on the lowest reading level dutifully fought through the texts 10 or more levels above her current reading level and answered each question. Those who couldn’t comprehend certain questions accepted that they had to do their very best on their own and they put down responses nonetheless.
So, how’d my kids do? When the grades come in, I suspect they won’t be exceptional. But there is a certain amount of pride to be taken – both by them and me – in knowing that no one gave up. I have to applaud them for that. What more can I ask for?