Often I hear people who aren't in education make comments about state testing. It's pretty common for me to hear, "All they care about is the test scores." "They" being teachers and principals. I really want to interrupt and ask, "Do you really think that's what they care about?" I don't know one person in education that will tell me that test scores are their top concern.
Do we talk about test scores? Yes. Do we look at them and try to measure growth and areas of improvement? Yes. But is that what we truly care about? No way!
There are many things happening in our school that test scores can't measure. There are much more important things that I care about.
- I care about the relationship the student has made with their teacher.
- I care about the English learner who walked onto campus able to say one word in English. The scores will tell me he is far below grade level. But I care about the fact that in one year he has built friendships and created relationships with multiple staff members. He is outgoing and talking on the playground with his peers and participating in class.
- I care about individual growth. Where were they when they started and where are they now? And it's not always academics- there's more to learning and growing than just the standards.
- I care about the kids who come to school happy everyday and put forth their best effort in everything they do.
- I care about the kid who just one year ago couldn't write his name or one legible word in 3rd grade. He refused to talk or participate in class. He missed 30-70 days a school year for the first three years of schooling. The test scores won't tell me that last year he missed less than five days and by the end he was writing sentences.
- I care if they slept well the night before and came to school with food in their stomach.
- I care about each one of them as individuals.
When it comes down to it, I care about the kids. I care about helping and supporting them. I care about their growth socially, emotionally and academically. I care about their happiness.
They're more than just a test score.