Sunday, April 20, 2008

why should I expect actual science on a science test?

We just got done with our state's standardized testing and we all know what fun that can be. Well this was the first year that all 4th and 8th graders had to take a Science test to go along with the reading, writing and math tests. Of course I was all paranoid going into this since all fingers would be pointing to me if my kids did not do well (it was so much easier to empathize with the language arts and math teachers all these years but now I had to share anxiety).

This being the first year of the test makes it even more scary because there was no telling what it would be like. Now the silly thing on my part was thinking that the test would actually be a complete representation of the state's science standards - I can be such a silly boy at times!

Not that I would ever actually read the test because of course I signed the contract saying I would not even glance in the direction of an open test booklet, but nothing said I couldn't question my students afterwards. Well I asked multiple students from multiple classes and I could not believe what they told me. Basically there were no questions on the scientific method, nothing on identifying variables (independent, dependent, control), writing a hypothesis, no historical figures in science, or steps in how to construct an experiment. But apparently there were like 2-3 questions on the value of airbags.

Now as I have posted before, I am actually in favor of standardized testing BUT ONLY IF IT IS A VALID TEST. I love the idea of holding students accountable for learning but if the test has nothing to do with main tenants of the subject matter, then we are just spinning our wheels.

At least now I will not feel so bad if my kids bomb the test.