In May, my students took the Smarter Balanced Assessment (SBA) along with most every other 3rd-8th, and 11th grade student in Washington. This was my second year with SBA since my district piloted the test last year and earlier this year I wrote about what I had learned from the pilot experience. It’s now been over a month since my students finished testing, and I’ve been able to reflect on our overall SBA experience. Here are six things I’m taking away from this year:
- “Testing does not have to be torture.” My principal made this statement at our pre-testing, rally-type assembly. During our testing window, schedules stayed the same. We still went to specialists, we had regular lunch and recess, we took brain breaks, and we had an extra recess at the end of each testing day. During testing I used GoNoodle, an online brain break tool that I had not previously used with my students. My students loved the Zumba dance breaks. The students still got to be kids throughout the day, and they worked really hard when it was time to return to testing.
- Students learned to encourage others. As a fourth grade team, we took it upon ourselves to adopt a third grade classroom. Each class made an encouraging poster for a third-grade class letting them know we believed in them, and that they were already super stars. The third graders appreciated knowing they were supported. When it was our turn to test, the third graders took time to make posters and encourage the fourth graders. It was good for our students to realize that in the end we were not testing by ourselves. We were all playing on the same team, and we were rooting for each other to simply do our best.
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