The Final SBAC Challenge…For Now!

She's right you know.  Testing has little room for ponies.

She’s right you know. Testing has little room for ponies.

“The perfect way for me to demonstrate what I’ve learned in school is a Standardized Test,” said exactly NO child in the history of Ever.

This posts on the third and final day of “Interim” SBAC testing. It has been an ordeal on some level…just a monotonous rigamarole of organizational issues, with no real point to them. Things like iPad charging and session code numbers, login cards and so forth. Keeping track of expensive hardware, and making sure it is charged and running.

In many ways, it’s not that different than previous standardized tests, on which the uniform of the bad guy above, Standardized Test, is based. For those you needed to meticulously count test booklets and answer sheets, scratch paper needed to be be collected and destroyed, all answers could only be in Number Two Pencil. The bulk of the issues bear similarity to the same grind of prior years, with lower tech.

The big new change? Pencils always WORKED. There was no way for a student to raise their hand, and say things like, “The test booklet won’t let me read it,” or “the test won’t let me answer.” With computer driven testing, these are entirely possible…the system can decide to not display data, a terminal can fail to show the test, or a terminal can completely discard submitted answers.

All of these things happened today, making me long for the “old days” of number two pencils and prepared speeches in test booklets.

Still…testing has gone as smoothly as could be expected. The big thing that was of interest to me was the technological solution to something that “old school” testing couldn’t easily prevent. Test booklets always said in them that students were not allowed to go back, and work on a previous section that they had tested on. The thing is…they could. A student could just turn back in their test booklets to those pages. Few test proctors would ever, ever question the sight of a student diligently working, and for those proctors that walked around…a student could just turn the pages to where they should be. It wasn’t much of a “life hack.”

With computer driven testing, though…once the answers are submitted, and the testing session closed, that’s it. You can’t go back, even to previous items in the SAME test section. It’s an anti-cheating measure that is pretty effective…except in that students have a hard time grasping that there is no “back button.” I explained this many, many times today.

Originally, the art was just supposed to be the bad guy, Standardized Test. You will note that his headgear is the eraser section of a number two pencil, and his face is rife with clear, obvious evil and menace. You know, like any Standardized Test. His suit is intended to be white, or that light green of Scantron forms…I can’t decide…with bubbles filled in around him, some not filled in. Like the Riddler, I imagine that he asks a lot of questions, but solving them only speaks to the way in which he intends to kick your @$&, not solving any cool mystery.

The first panel, which was originally the sole panel for the day.

The first panel, which was originally the sole panel for the day.

The robots from yesterday? Yeah…they are just Inter-minions…the real menace is this guy. The brains behind the operation, the real brawn in executing things. That sinister cyborg was just the performing monkey in the metaphor…this evil quizmaster on steroids is the organ grinder, people.

I still had a lot of the art design and mentality of He-Man and the Masters in the Universe in me this morning, when I sat down before homeroom to lay out panel one. His muscles are Epic, he is truly Beyond Ripped…much like the mega corporations, like Pearson, that make Standardized Tests. He’s like a bad to the bone MODOK on Steroids…A Trebek like force in a eraser helmet, set on demoralizing young people and subtracting from the joy of learning.

Thankfully, tomorrow I’ll counter all of that Mega-Negativity with a reading of Edgar Allen Poe. That sounds like the right medicine.

That, and ponies.


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