Conditions for standardized testing sub-standard

By Michelle Pitcher

Thirty minutes into the math TAKS, my stomach started growling. It wasn’t just your typical had-a-light-breakfast-occasional-grumble – this was earth-shattering growling. I swear I felt my chair shake. My entire room was distracted while I sped through the test so I could grab my snack from the front of the room and remedy the situation.

Since before I can remember, students have been provided with snacks and water bottles on TAKS testing days. I suppose I took for granted those special days of Famous Amos and Cheez-its, for now we must trudge through these horrific “assessments of knowledge and skills” unaided by our processed friends.

The school-wide groan was almost audible as it was announced over the loudspeakers that there would be no snacks provided for this year’s test-takers. We all sounded like a bunch of spoiled rich kids as we begged our teachers for an explanation for this injustice, but honestly, these things matter.

We were told the budget wouldn’t allow for these expenses anymore. But my math teacher has a class set of iPods and Mac laptops we rarely use. I only have one teacher without a SMART Board. There are televisions all around the school that nobody even looks at (most don’t even know they’re there.) I understand these technological advancements are put into place to provide us with a better education, but, as a public school, where do we get the funding for the essentials? The state. And how does the state judge how much funding we receive? Standardized testing.

Reason would have it that the testing environment needs to be suitable for us to yield acceptable results. I was certainly in no position to double and triple-check my answers when every time my stomach made a noise, half the room shot me a dirty look.

Students may be finishing their tests in record-time, but I guarantee they are not finishing with record scores.