OEA Guest Blog | By Tina Allen, ColumbusEA/OEA
I am a fourth-grade teacher in Columbus City Schools.
One of the most devastating and heartbreaking days of my teaching occurred when one day, unexpectedly, one of my students silently put her head down on her desk. Upset with her score on a state-mandated middle-of-the-year test, she began to cry.
She had begun the new school year on the heels of attending summer school because she was unsuccessful in passing the high-stakes Third-Grade Reading Guarantee the year before.
Traumatized By Testing
She had been traumatized by testing. I had seen that expression before. I’ve discussed it with other educators as well as have seen it in other students equally traumatized by the testing process.
As the tears ran down her face, I was speechless and felt disgusted inside.
“I joined this profession to change lives, to educate, motivate and inspire. High-stakes testing almost took that away from me”
Had Testing Traumatized Me Too?
“What had I done?” I asked of myself.
Recognizing she had at least two more standardized tests on the horizon as well as I-Ready assessments, reading assessments, and progress monitoring, I then asked myself, “How can I help her through this? “
It made me realize that unknowingly, I, too, had been traumatized. I was becoming to concerned about “what they needed to know to pass the test” versus “what are they are learning.” Yes, I am advocating for a reduction in high-stakes testing and the creation of alternative pathways for promoting students onward to the next grade.
I joined this profession to change lives, to educate, motivate and inspire. High-stakes testing almost took that away from me.
The tears of a fourth grader reminded me what’s important.
Tina Allen is a member of the ColumbusEA/OEA and a fourth-grade educator at Columbus Cassady Elementary School