Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Slice of Life #21 Challenge Day 10: Standardized Test Proctering

For the month of March, each day I am writing and posting a slice of my life, hosted by Two Writing Teachers. 

Slice of Life #21 Challenge Day 10:

Standardized Test Proctering

My soft-soled shoes walk up and down the rows of student desks, each desk placed at least three feet apart. I check to make sure each student is working on the proper test section. I verify each student is bubbling in their answers in the corresponding spaces. Students are all facing the same way. Start time, five minute warning time, and stop time is clearly written on the white board. A clock is visible at all times for students.

Cell phones are silenced and placed on a table on the other side of the room. Water bottles and snacks are nowhere near test booklets. 

The bells are turned off for the school day. It's eerily quiet. For the most part, I only hear #2 pencils filling in circles in their best booklets, the occasional page turn, or weight shifts from student desks.

It's a high stakes test for juniors. Some of them are paralyzed with anxiety, while other students don't seem to care about the outcome of this assessment.  

Like every year, I have extra pencils and at least one extra calculator for the student who arrives unprepared. 

Suddently, I am struck by this thought: standardized testing is nearly identical to what it was pre-pandemic. I find myself searching for ways testing has changed since last year. However, the only thing that I see is different is that students santized their desk tops before they sat down to test and everyone wore a face covering. 

As I ponder all of the changes we have made in the delivery of instruction, attendance, lesson planning, grades, school schedules, desk placement, hallway pass procedures, health mitigation strategies, and connecting with students...yet proctoring standardized testing remains the same. All juniors are required to be in the building for this exam (regardless if students are "virtual only" learners and have not been physically in the building since March of 2020). It's a day that rules are especially rigid. Students seem to understand. As educators, even in a pandemic we shoulder heavy responsiblity on testing days.  

It's an exhausting day for teachers and students alike. I am grateful this testing day is over...until next year.   


  1. Ore-pandemic these tests angered me. They do so even more now. They’re a waste of money and biased beyond words. Making students endure this testing torture is nothing short of cruel. I wish tik-tockers had staged a nationwide student protest. Grrr! And you are so right. Morning about these draconian tests has changed.

  2. Trina,
    What a nice combination you weave of telling the inside & outside stories to make me feel like I am there, with the weight of it all.

  3. I've walked in your shoes many times like this - and I so hoped that this pandemic would be the thing that laid standardized testing to rest for good. Alas.

  4. We had testing on Tuesday. It was one of those crazy moments of "a year ago" because these, now juniors, did not take a standardized test at my school since freshmen. Due to the pandemic they missed the Aspire.
    I appreciated your thought you were struck by.

  5. I'm with Glenda: angry about it before, furious about it now! Really unbelievable the lobbying power that the standardized testing industry has in education. The wasted time, the wasted money, the wasted anxiety and energy.... The crafting of this piece is so strong--all of the specific, concrete details of being present in the moment and walking through the testing procedures and the move to reflection at the end.


Slice of Life Challenge #21 Day 31: Easter Preparations

For the month of March, each day I am writing and posting  a slice of my life , hosted by Two Writing Teachers.  Slice of Life Challenge #21...