Email from a CPS teacher on NWEA testing at her school

I would love to talk about MAP testing. I'm not sure what you would like to know, but here is my experience. I was one of three people trained in my building on the new web-based NWEA site and have become the "expert" in the building when the test malfunctions. My classroom has to be covered by an aide while I'm spending an enormous amount of time educating teachers on how to log students back in to the test. Out of concern for students and concern for the wasted instruction time, it seems that someone either from CPS or NWEA would be madly trying to correct these problems. You would think that CPS would postpone the testing until it was fixed and properly piloted. The biggest problem is that students get dropped in the middle of the test, and in my case it has been up to a 1/3 of the class. It is taking us twice as long to finish the test, maybe longer. We are sharing 70 computers for over 600 students and trying to get it done in a required month time frame. Most of the students will take three tests--reading, math and science.

Our school was told by an Area person that we did not have enough broadband to carry the test for one testing classroom. We've been given tips that might help, such as asking other teachers on our floor not to use their google email during testing, or stream video, to turn off pop-up-blocker, to make sure the computers don't go to energy-saver mode, etc. These tips have not worked, nor do I think it is appropriate for the teachers on the same floor to have to alter their teaching style to accomodate this finicky test for a month.

The technical problems are just one concern. The teachers in my school are flabbergasted that students as young as kindergarten are required to take this test, in the first month, and that this will be one of their first experiences with school. In the upper grades we have had a couple weeks of a department schedule disrupted due to the problems. So much for setting routines!

We also are required to give the Reach Test within the month. Even preschoolers have to take it. It is a paper/pencil test. The readings seem to be very lofty and the students are having a hard time relating to the language.

If you have any questions, feel free to write back.