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  • By Don J. Fessenden

    Over my last eleven years in public education, I have had the distinct pleasure of proctoring our schools annual state driven mandatory student standardized assessment test.  In Connecticut during my tenure we have had the Connecticut Mastery Test (CMT), Connecticut Academic Performance Test (CAPT), Smarter Balance Assessment Consortium (SBAC), and now the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT) & Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT).  All of these standardized tests are only relevant until the next big idea is discovered. 


    The problem with standardized tests is students lack the motivation to excel, last year while administering the SBAC, most students showed their true colors and put little effort into this assessment.  When asked after the first day of SBAC testing why they had finished the test in just five minutes, several students shared…why try, the results don’t matter.  Wow!  So you believe putting your name to a test which the results will be in your records forever, doesn’t count.  As you can imagine this was disheartening to me, it also provided a teachable moment. 


    After, providing all the reason why do your best is always worth the effort, I realized that it wasn’t their fault.  Until we give an assessment that matter’s we should expect much, much more of the same little too no effort.  This year we will be administering the PSAT and SAT to grade appropriate students and while it may take a few years for everyone to become comfortable with its administration, our students we will finally have an assessment that MATTERS! 


    It was a 180 degree change in attitude and behavior as students listened for instructions to the SAT.  The sound of concentration was accelerating as their level of effort on this test was off the charts.  We need to motivate our students, and by judging this year’s PSAT/SAT mission accomplished.  Now all we need to worry about is whether the PSAT/SAT will have lasting power with educational stakeholders.  There is one key take-away for leaders, make tests matter!


    As always, if you agree or disagree please leave us a comment.  Have an idea for a future BLOG post, let us know.    


    Next up…Time is an asset we can never recover, so why do schools still use study halls?


    #Connecticut Mastery Test# CMT# Connecticut Academic Performance Test# CAPT# Smarter Balance Assessment Consortium# SBAC# Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test# PSAT# Scholastic Aptitude Test# SAT# #Closingtheachievementgap# #allstudentsmatter   0Comments

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