This afternoon I saw one of my former students still working on her ELA test at 2:45 pm. Her face was pained and she looked exhausted. She had worked on her test until dismissal for the first two days of testing as well. 18 hours. She’s 9.
This is a student who is far above grade level in reading, writing and every measurable area imaginable. She definitely got a 3 or 4 on this test. She is a hard worker and powers through challenges with quiet strength and determination. She is not “coddled.” She is sweet, brilliant and creative and as far as I know she has always loved school. She is also shy and a perfectionist.
After 18 hours of testing over 3 days, she emerged from the classroom in a daze. I asked her if she was ok, and offered her a hug. She actually fell into my arms and burst into tears. I tried to cheer her up but my heart was breaking. She asked if she could draw for a while in my room to calm down and then cried over her drawing for the next 20 minutes.
Make no mistake. These tests hurt children. And removing the time limits has done nothing to change that.
She was not the only one. Many 3rd-5th graders at my school took at hours to finish their ELA tests over the last three days. When most students take more than 70 minutes- can you really call it a 70 minute test?
Children should be challenged. But challenges should be meaningful, differentiated and developmentally appropriate. No matter how many superficial concessions the state makes, this is not meaningful, not differentiated and certainly not appropriate for young children. This is torture. Opt out.