Friday, March 4, 2011

ISTEP week in Indiana

ISTEP, or the Indiana State Test of Educational Progress, was this week. I am our school coordinator. ISTEP is not my favorite time of the year. Kids hate it, teachers hate it, and I am always the bearer of bad news to both. Schedules are crazy, the teachers get tired of saying "Please make your mark heavy and dark. If you want to change your answer, erase the mark you made and make a new mark." and the kids get tired of hearing it.

ISTEP has evolved over the years. The examples finally changed. Many still remember that a baloo is a bear, to wuzzle is to mix,and a yonker is a young man. These were the sample English questions used for every grade for many years (or decades). ISTEP is now given over 2 testing sessions - the writing section (Feb/March) and the multiple choice section (April/May). I still maintain that it is a way for CTBS to charge double on the boxes, lables, stack cover cards, school group lists, rulers, and formula sheets, since you must unpack and repack everything twice. Why test in 1 week what you can do over the course of multiple weeks. This year for the April session, I have 500 8th graders to test on 120 computers - someone might want to make sure I am still standing come May 5th.

In honor of ISTEP, I thought I would post some of the funny emails and cartoons I have received over the years. Enjoy!

Severe Weather Testing Protocols
1. Should a severe weather situation occur during testing, please remain calm. To display any kind of anxiety would be a testing irregularity and must be reported.

2. Please do not look out the window to watch for approaching tornadoes. You must monitor the students at all times. To do otherwise would be a testing irregularity and must be reported.

3. Should students notice an approaching tornado and begin to cry, please make every effort to protect their testing materials from the flow of tears and sinus drainage.

4. Should a flying object come through your window during testing, please make every effort to ensure that it does not land on a testing booklet or an answer sheet. Please make sure to soften the landing of the flying object so that it will not disturb the students while testing.

5. Should shards of glass from a broken window come flying into the room, have the students use their bodies to shield their testing materials so that they will not be damaged. Have plenty of gauze on hand to ensure that no one accidentally bleeds on  the answer documents. Damaged answer sheets will not scan properly.

6. Should gale force winds ensue, please have everyone stuff their test booklets and answer sheets into their shirts...being very careful not to bend them because bent answer documents will not scan properly.

7. If any student gets sucked into the vortex of the funnel cloud, please make sure they mark at least one answer before departing...and of course make sure they leave their answer sheets and test booklets behind. You will have to account for those.

8. Should a funnel cloud pick you, the test administrator, up and take you flying over the rainbow, you will still be required to account for all of your testing materials when you land so please take extra precautions. Remember, once you have checked them out, they should never leave your hands.

9. When rescue workers arrive to dig you out of the rubble, please make sure that they do not, at any time, look at or handle the testing materials. Once you have been treated for your injuries, you will still be responsible for checking your materials back in. Search dogs will not be allowed to sift through the rubble for lost tests...unless of course they have been through standardized test training.

Today's Comic

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