There are times when I think I am being too harsh on the bubble tests. When I ridicule and bash them almost ad nauseum. And why? Well, it’s because 1) I think we are egregiously over-testing our students, 2) we are egregiously overestimating the insight we can actually gleam from these narrow, if not myopic, forms of student assessment, and 3) it’s just downright fun to mock them because they are so egregiously full holes in their credibility no matter how you dare to look at them.
That’s a lot of egregiousness. (Thus my own egregious ridicule.) In this David and Goliath world of schooling, ridiculing them is both my stone and slingshot.
But like I said, sometimes I think it’s just me who really, really, really feels this way and folks would rather see me change tunes and not beat this dead bubble test horse into a cliche-riddled bottle of glue.
And then I read things by other folks I respect and think to myself, “Self… go ahead and mock the bubble tests some more. You are not alone.”
How do I know I am not alone? Well, look at what Program Chair Yvonne Siu-Runyan says in this year’s NCTE conference welcome message to the conference.
The National Council of Teachers of English ‘ohana (family) was officially formed on December 2, 1911 “. …primarily out of protest against overly-specific college entrance requirements and the effects they were having on high school English education”.
How cool is that? I am following along with a tradition of protest and I didn’t even quite realize it.
And then she says…
In this era of mandates, high-stakes testing, and sanctions, it is even more important for NCTE members to remember the roots of our organization that trace back to a group of advocates. Our work is most vital during this time of impositions, mandates, tests, and sanctions by those far away from the classrooms; much is at stake for an entire generation of students, who have been tested ad nauseam, sorted, categorized, and labeled, with little if any benefit.
I’m not a jester filled with mocks – I’m an advocate. Makes me sound classy, huh?
Remember our roots in this tradition.
Stand up to sanctions from those far away from the classrooms.
And look at that last line once again…
“…much is at stake for an entire generation of students, who have been tested ad nauseam, sorted, categorized, and labeled, with little if any benefit.”
Indeed, much is at stake.
To paraphrase one of the wittiest people of all time, Will Rogers, I say…
There’s no trick to being a humorist when you have the whole bubble test industry working for you.
See ya at NCTE!