So far in my quest for the best end of year test training ever, we played a game, enjoyed tropical refreshments, and laughed at one heck of a skit in which my administrators modeled “what NOT to do” during testing. Those things were some nice additions which hopefully made the dreaded end of year test training more bearable. To be perfectly honest though, those things although thoughtful, we’re much like the candy we often use to try to bribe our students to make an effort in the classroom. The recipients enjoy the treat, but in itself it isn’t powerful enough to cause the impact we need. I had 2 more plans in mind to make test training informative and less painful, but only one of them was something I had any control over.
Plan 4- Respect Profressionalism
This year the test administrators manual made it very clear, that administrators should read the manual BEFORE attending test training. Though I’m sure it has also said this in the past as well, I think prior test coordinators were afraid to hand out the manual early for fear of them getting lost. My thought was that if we trust teach ears with our community’s children everyday, they can handle a newsprint test manual. So a week or so before test training I handed out manuals and gave the directions to read before training. I realize it’s very likely that not everyone read it, but they are professional adults and should be trusted to take care of their responsibilities.
When training day came, what we had frequently experienced in the past 2 as someone going page by page reading to us and telling exactly what to mark. I think doing it that way is insulting to highly educated adults, especially those who have already read the manual. Instead I approached the task by going over key points related to security and procedures, spending the most time on details which were changes from the previous year. In this way, it was my intent to be responsive to the needs of the “learners” and make sure they were clear on procedures while at the same time respecting their intelligence and not wasting their time.
Plan 5- Attitude is Everything
The final way to make test training not suck, lies totally in the hand of each individual participant. While the leader of the training can add elements of fun and enjoyment and be sure to address the needs of the participants, the bottom line is that it will be whatever you make it. This was clearly evident to me as I saw completely opposite responses to the exact same experience from different people. Some left the training saying “testing still makes me nervous, but this is the only time I can ever say I had fun at test training!” While others spent the entire session and their walk out the door mumbling, and commenting with outrage at certain procedures. Interestingly, EVERYONE in the room would agree that some of the procedures we are having to follow are not in the best interests of kids (myself included). The difference came with the attitude people reacted to that with. Each person has the choice to see difficulties as a challenge they can work through, or as a tragedy they are a victim of.
If you want end of year test training to suck a little less . . . choose to be someone who works through the challenges – you can do it!