Ten days ago I wrote the following tweet as part of the #whatif campaign many educators are participating in on Twitter in order to re-imagine possibilities in our field and for our students.
This tweet has been staying in the forefront of my mind the first week back to school as my students gear up for Round 2 of district mandated NWEA testing. I don't think the public truly understands the sheer amount of time we spend testing at school, so I've added up the hours I have spent/will spend testing my special education students this year.
PALS Testing: 3 hours a year
NWEA Testing: It takes myself and one of my assistants ten days straight to test all of our students each time we take this test. This equates to roughly 180 hours of my time each year.
AIMS Web Testing: Our district mandates that I progress monitor each of my special education students in both reading and math on a biweekly basis. This roughly equates to 60 hours over the course of the year.
WKCE Science & Social Studies Tests: This took me 5 hours to give.
WAA: This took me about 4 hours to proctor.
Smarter Balanced Assessment aka Badger 3-8: This is a new test, but the students have to take it individually. The average time for a non-special education student according to the Smarter Balanced folks is 7 hours per students. Typically, my students take at least 50% longer than their peers, so I will schedule about 10 hours for each of my students. It will be proctored to 15 kids on my caseload, but fortunately some of my assistants will be able to help, so my guess is about 75 hours of my time.
Dynamic Learning Map: It is super unclear how long this test will take for my student with cognitive challenges, but I did have to sit through 3 hours of training on how to proctor it. My guess is it will take about 4 hours to proctor. Total hours of my time: 7.
Total hours of testing: 334 hours.
Now, here's the super scary part. I work with students for six hours a day, so let's see how many days I spend administering tests compared to teaching core academic or social skills. 334 / 6 = 55.6 days. Students come to school for 180 days, so a little over 30% of my time with them is spent testing. Pretty incredible.
Candace Burckhardt is an international education consultant with an emphasis on special education, English learners, and social-emotional learning.