Testing the Masses

Want to be a Music Educator, but need advice? Look no further than right here:

Whew, what a blowhard.

This week at my school we are doing a school wide AIMS writing practice for 4 days, 30 minutes a day, that is for an English grade. And I can tell you I have never seen/felt/experience such student anger/disappointment/laziness/anxiety. Many students are freaking out because some of their ‘free-time’ was taken up to do this test for the 4 days. There have been complaints that as a Junior or Senior they have already passed the AIMS and do not see why they would have to practice this. Some students see that the prompt has one answer that this more easily supported than the other. They felt that this is not something that should be done on a sample test as AIMS is not so heavily geared towards one side or another. Lastly, some students are not even trying at all and have to write a single word because it could not affect my grade that badly. This does not seem to be the best idea for cultivating ‘excitement’ for doing better on the AIMS test.

A music test (chair placements) and these kids view it completely different. They tend to be kind and very professional in their approach. After every test I had a student say thank you before they left the room. Why do I need to thanked? I just sat there and listened to give them a grade. Maybe it is the way that it is all set up that these students do feel prepared even happy to show what they know even if it is “forced”. Why do kids view those tests as different? What can we as teachers do to improve views on testing so that this does not happen (the AIMS view not the latter) and have testing not be a bore.

I do have to say that I am greatly enjoying my student teaching so far. The chances to teach classes that are not covered in college is a refreshing change of pace as well as a steep learning curve. But overall I feel that I have gained more than one year from practicum. There have been few issues and I do feel that everything is progressing nicely. Overall I am glad I have this time with a safety net because sooner than I want I will have an oops moment and there will be no immediate help. That’s however the life I choose.


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