Wednesday, March 1, 2017

National testing week

It's been on every teachers mind and the topic of every teachers conversation - PAT week.

Across New Zealand our primary school kids are starting their day completing 'Progress and Achievement Tests'. The same way I did when I went to school more than 3 decades ago.

They have changed a little bit but certainly not in the significant manner you see other changes and developments, not just in education but across all areas of life. Don't get me wrong, the outcomes we get from this sort of assessment is very different. Now, we use the data the assessment tool gives us to help students identify any gaps in their learning and then work with students on how they could work fill those identified gaps. This is an essential development teaching and learning has made over the past 5-10 years. And thank goodness.

Why they are still referred to as 'tests' is a bit disappointing though. Our students are growing up in a world of challenge! Much of it, things we never even dreamt about let alone had to face. Causing unnecessary anxiety due to simple semantics seems absurd. So, I've tried not to dwell on the T in PAT and encouraged students to look forward to the Progress & Achievement we know we will find once the results come back in. We have talked about how getting experienced and ready for their future is important. That future includes NCEA. Although, I'll eat my boots if they are not online by the time our students sit them. There are pilot schools doing that already.

Got to feel a bit sorry for them though :)

Please remember to: "Put first things first". This week you will need extra rest and it would be an advantage if you thought about food and refuelling with lots of 'brain' food to give yourself the best possible opportunity to do well.

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