Kelsey LaMar is an elementary school teacher from Greeley, Colorado. Every year, as many schools do, Kelsey’s district puts students through weeks of standardized testing.
In Colorado it’s called T-CAP, and while students are the ones taking the tests, it’s really the teachers who are being graded.
Kelsey took to Facebook to share her frustration about what the test results won’t show to those who determine what makes a “good” or “bad” teacher. It’s the most heart-felt “rant” you’ll want to share with a teacher who knows the struggle.
“After a brutal few weeks of state testing, finally ALL of my students have finished. We can go back to teaching and learning as normal. My students are blissfully unaware that their tests have been shipped out of state somewhere to be graded by people who have never taught a day in their lives. In a few months, our scores will come back. They will be plastered in all of the newspapers for the citizens of Greeley to dissect and criticize. In their eyes I will either be a hero to celebrate or just another bad teacher to complain about. The scores will show whether I taught them what they needed to learn. I had an entire year, right?
For many students in my class, it will. I will get much needed feedback on how I taught certain standards, and changes I may need to make next year. For many of my students, I will feel such pride to see how far they’ve come. And unfortunately for some, I will wonder what went wrong. However, here are some things that those scores WON’T show. They won’t show the new Somalian refugee student (knowing very little English) that I was given 5 minutes before testing. “Hi, I’m your teacher, Mrs. Lamar. Welcome to my class! Here’s your computer because we will be testing all week.”
They won’t show that one of my student’s father just went to jail for beating someone to a pulp right in front of him. He is so angry about it that he threw rocks at houses and was sent to juvenile detention for two days.
They won’t show the two students with bags under their eyes because their parents were up fighting all night, AGAIN.
They won’t show the few students who were so ill they were crying, but their parents sent them to school anyways because they don’t have childcare.
They won’t show the student whose mom is in the hospital in Denver yet again. She is so sick with anxiety that her mom is going to die that she can think of nothing else.
They won’t show the student who fell asleep twice during the first test because he was up all night coughing and his new asthma meds haven’t come in yet.
They won’t show the student who had to walk his baby brother to his grandma’s house the night before because his dad was beating his mom up again.