While some tests have already come and gone, this week has a healthy dose of TAKS Testing.  There is testing occuring on all campuses any given day this week, and as much as teachers and students want it to just be an easy right of passage, unfortunately, it’s a week of stress for all parties involved. 

Students are hitting their pillows a little earlier tonight, getting as much rest as possible, and waking to hearty breakfasts either cooked at home or provided by school cafeterias.  As I tucked my own daughter into bed tonight, we went over a few test taking strategies, and talked about her Mad Math Skills, but mostly I calmed her nerves and assured her that she would do well on all her tests.

And, honestly, I hate that I have to calm the nerves of my fourth grader.

If you look closely, you might notice a few dark circles under they eyes of teachers and administrators as they try to cram in a few more study sessions and ready the Super Secret Sealed Tests.  All the blood, sweat, and tears of the school year is about to be measured by a 50 question test.  One 50 question test.  And, those results will be posted for the world to see and judge.

It’s a hard line to walk.  On one hand, I see how state accountability is useful for grade level or course guidelines, keeping teachers focused on State Objectives, and assuring a consistent education across school districts during any given year.  On the other hand, all the work of one year is measured on this one day–one day, and one test for all students–students from different families, different backgrounds, different learning environments, and different stories. 

This is the week of the one day snapshots.  We are all praying-teachers that their work has made a difference, and students that their brains remember.  Of course we want to do well on this test, to make ourselves, our families, and our schools proud.  Of course we want to do well on this one test, because that is how we are graded.

But, imagine if we were this intense everyday, during every lesson, and on every test.  Every single day instead of just this one…

But, this week, this year, we are focused on one test.  To those of you testing, I wish you the best of luck.  May the Testing Gods look favorably on you, and allow all the information to flow from your brain to the pencil.  May we all reach our fullest potential, and have pride in a job excellently done–a job excellently done all year long.