Tuesday 10 May 2011


It's the dreaded SATS week at work. I am invigilating a group of five children who should never ever ever have to sit any type of exam. But, because they bumble along quite nicley making small baby steps they crept over the threshold that deems them fit for work.

Yesterday was the hardest ever reading test I have seen. I have seen a lot. They have 15 minutes to read the booklet. If my little cherubs had 1500 minutes they'd have never read it all. I was actually really enjoying the booklet, but the lad I was at next to didn't turn the pages quick enough so I got frustrated. He was frustrated. I could have wept for them.

Then comes the 45 minutes of pure torture. The answer booklet. Again, the hardest I have seen for years.  These children have been separated off because they need extra help reading. When they do their maths papers on Wed & Thurs we can read every single question to them. But this is a READING test so we cannot read the questions. I don't get it. It IS a reading test, but it is testing their comprehension and retrieval skills of the booklet they have just read. Not can they read the questions. I also happen to think that if some children get readers for maths then ALL children should be read to - even the most confident reader could misread a maths question and go off on the wrong track.

Soooo I get back to the torture. The poor child is attempting to read a question, looks helplessly at you for instruction, you look back sympathetically and then each question and I mean EACH one, especially the multiple choice ones I was SCREAMING telepathically the right answers to the boy. I repeated them like a mantra in  my head - focussing REALLLY hard and saying YES YES YES YES YES YES when the pen is hovering over the right answer then NO NO GO BACK when they choose the wrong one.
Then when it says FIND and COPY ONE word you are so desperately wanting to rip the paper away and turn the page when they FOUND and COPIED  the ONE word.....but then they carry on and copy out the whole paragraph...taking precious minutes.
I was EXHAUSTED at the end of it!!!
We have the writing papers to look forward to today. They are hopeless en masse at puntuation. One child uses speech marks, brackets, dashes, elipses, apostrophes in fact ALL of them mailny correctly. But, NEVER uses capital letters and full stops!!!!! O I feel my anxiety rising already!

Busy weekend up at the hospital - this time one of my sister's other children perhaps felt like they were missing out on the illness limelight so had a fit and got a ride in a nee nar and a 2 night stay full bed n board courtesy of me and thee ( if you are a UK National Insurance Payer) ! Fortunately he is fine, the little darling. Docs convinced it was a reaction to a VIRUS! Pesky viruses. Leave my family alone! I do not know if we could cope with anything else! Baby Harry is sooooo giggly and chortley you wouldn't think there was anything wrong with him!
Oops - better go to work!


  1. Not exactly glad to hear some other agency is torturing children through testing, but very sympathetic.
    The Texas Assessment of Knowlege and Skills (TAKS) is our instrument of angst. The process, probably developed by Torquemada, is heavily regulated. We must sign oaths not to discuss the test content with anyone. The manual details what will happen to us if we don't read the directions word for word, and follow all procedures.Worst consequence is losing our teaching certification forever. People with clipboards come around, peek through the window at you and write down what they see you doing.
    Need a restroom break? Only someone who is certified and been trained in the test can step in the room to "relieve" you.
    One child at a time is allowed in the restroom so they don't discuss the test. If they're not done by lunch, we sit with them to be certain they don't discuss the test.
    I do small group/ individual administration. my kiddo this year had the math test read to her, plus questions and answer choices. The reading test allowed me to read a list of proper nouns for each story, read the questions and answer choices. Like you I have to bite my tongue not to help, but the consequences are so terrible I don't. By the time we're done, both the child and I are drained. I usually test some of the autistic students, but this year I had a dyslexic child.
    I'm retired three years now, but I had a TAKS Test nightmare the evening after we finished this year. I appreciate the extra income, as teacher retirement isn't a lot, but wish we weren't so hard on the kids. Some of them actually vomit the morning of the tests from the stress.

    New test next year -- they change them regularly, as soon as we have them figured out. They'll remove all the easy questions and re-name the test the STAR.

    School reputations are made or broken by the test results, which are published this month. If a school is low performing more than two years the state steps in and has a variety of solutions, including firing all the teachers and starting over with new hires.

    Education isn't as rewarding as it used to be. Glad I retired and do subbing, tutoring and testing only. I couldn't stand the stress anymore. thanks for listening. This one of my ranting topics.

  2. OOO it posted after all!!! Last maths one today. I feel menatlly tortured and exhausted. My boy who I am working with can't do maths. He's dumb. ( his words and he will NOT take the you are not, lets try hard etc.He doesn't know. Shrugs shoulders. Head down. Defeated body language before the test even started - we had no hope. :(


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