How the Grinch Stole Testing

Everyone in the state house likes State Tests a lot,
But to the west at the uni, the Grinch he did not!

The Grinch hated State Tests! The whole testing season!
Now, please don’t ask why. To ask would be treason.

It could be, perhaps, he was wound up too tight.
It could be his head wasn’t screwed on just right.

But I think that the most likely reason of all
May have been nothing more than a case of sheer gall.

But, whatever the reason, his gall or his stress,
He stood there on campus, blasting the tests.

They all wanted more info to let them take actions,
On writing, and patterns, and systems of fractions.

Some wanted predictions, some preferred growth,
(Ah, growth is the score the Grinch hated the most.)

They all wanted something, what they weren’t sure,
But they looked to the tests to provide something more.

“And damn those vague levels!”, he groaned in frustration
At Basic, Proficient, and Meeting Expectations.

The history, eugenics, it’s gone on too long,
Linking, not thinking, these scores might be wrong.

They violate the Standards, an incomparable crime,
And oh, the precious instructional time.

“Why for twenty-plus years I’ve put up with it now!
I must stop State Tests from coming! But how?”

It started with Clinton, but that Bill had no clout.
They’d have to wait longer to figure it out.

Then in strode old W and with him the yearning
To answer the question, “Is our children learning?

Next was Obama and his Race to the Top,
Using tests to rate teachers, oh, please make it stop!

They promised us new tests, balanced and smarter,
And grinning like a CAT, made them longer and harder.

And even now at the solstice in this darkest of years!
They’re still planning testing! It’s practically here!

Then he growled, with his Grinch fingers nervously drumming,
“I must find some way to keep those damn tests from coming!

And the more the Grinch thought of state testing this spring,
The more the Grinch thought, “I must stop this whole thing!

Then he got an idea! An awful idea!
The Grinch got a wonderful, awful idea!

“I know just what to do!” The Grinch laughed his face glowing.
And deep down inside, he felt his pow’r growing.

Sitting in his office he planned his behavior,
If he could pull this off, he would be their savior.

“All I need is to publish.” The Grinch said with glee –
Some blog posts, an op-ed, EdWeek commentary.

And then there’ll be podcasts and panel discussions.
That should be enough to stop State Tests from coming.

But no, I’ll surely need more than opinions.
So, quickly he shot off this e-mail to his minions.

“Calling all grad students, it’s a dire situation.
I need papers, articles, and a few dissertations.”

And he chuckled, and clucked, “What a great grinchy trick!
With their work and my name, I’ll end this real quick.

And then the Grinch published and knocked on some doors,
Of those Who would listen, and a few dozen more.

He ranted and chanted ‘til all around him were bored.
And then he went back and he ranted some more.

And so did his grad students, eager to please.
Each Dr. grasping tightly, their new Ed.D..

And then the Grinch rested, pleased with himself,
As he took racist textbooks down from his shelf.

“State Testing is finished, they’ll be overjoyed!”
(Least ‘til they realize what next fills that void.)

And so, the Grinch waited for 20 January to come.
He giggled and wiggled as he thought of the fun.

Soon the big day was here, a masked Biden was heard,
As from the teleprompter he read every word.

Fahoo forays, dahoo dorays
Welcome Testing! Come this way
Fahoo forays, dahoo dorays
Welcome Testing, Here to Stay!

Welcome, welcome, fahoo ramus
Welcome, welcome, dahoo damus
State Test scores we will still need
So long as kids can’t write and read

But what was this sound? What did he just hear?
Mixed in with the gibberish the message was clear?

He hadn’t stopped State Tests from coming at all.
This spring they’d be tested, the small and the tall.

And the Grinch, with his grinch feet ice-cold in the snow,
Stood puzzling and puzzling. “How could it be so?”

As snow started to melt and flowers to bloom,
State tests were administered, some via Zoom.

Then shortly thereafter, the test scores they came.
Just a score and a level, but they came just the same.

They came without subscores, they came without claims.
They came, without a clear purpose and aims.

He puzzled and puzzled till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before.

It’s aligned to the standards, yup, that is for sure.
But maybe a scale score means a little bit more!

What if ELA and math are just like the arts,
Where performance is more than the sum of its parts.

Not a fan of the arts, well what about sports,
She’s fast, fields, and throws but she just can’t play short.

A state test’s like a concert, an exhibition of art.
It’s where things come together, you don’t pull them apart.

It is what it is, it should be sufficient
To know just Who is, and Who might not be, proficient

They identify the problem and choose the right path,
Those are the kids proficient in math.

Kids who observe the sun, fog, and AIR,
And draw the right inference, oh they are rare.

But those Who a convincing argument can make,
They are the ones who truly take the cake.

And then the true meaning of State Tests came through,
And the Grinch knew that State Tests had their place in schools, too.

And now that his chest didn’t feel quite so tight,
He sat down at his desk and he started to write.

“I’ll promote good state testing! That is my oath.”
“But I may need just a bit longer to wrap my head around growth.”

(Image by monicore from Pixabay )

Published by Charlie DePascale

Charlie DePascale is an educational consultant specializing in the area of large-scale educational assessment. When absolutely necessary, he is a psychometrician. The ideas expressed in these posts are his (at least at the time they were written), and are not intended to reflect the views of any organizations with which he is affiliated personally or professionally..

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