For the first time in many years, I arrived home from school yesterday feeling the physical side effects of intense stress. I had pain all through the right side of my body and I could feel the muscle spasms in my neck and shoulders. It took most of last evening to try to relax, to run, to take a bath and then finally get a good night’s sleep to get back to something approaching normal.
That’s because I can relax now. The blue plastic bucket full of the OSSLT tests is safe in the vault, ready to be picked up by the courier this morning to be whisked away to EQAO.
But this isn’t about me. If I felt this much stress, and I am just the Principal overseeing the test, what about my students? It isn’t over for them. They still have to wait several months for their results.
I was comforting students who were in tears before the test even started yesterday. I know there are students who will not pass this test, and it has nothing to do with their ability to read and write.
I have written often on high-stakes testing, but in today’s economic climate when governments are looking at freezing teacher salaries as a way to balance the books, I really have to wonder at what our priorities are.
I stumbled across this blog: SheilaSpeaking: Standardized Testing – Teacher Reflections on EQAO which questions why we continue to believe that EQAO testing is what is best for our students in Ontario. She also refers to the blogs listed below, which are very good conversation starters.
(Check here for another look at the conversation on whether standardized tests should be used as part of a student’s grade in a high school course)