Book World & Testing (a bit of a rant)

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I love the end of the school year when my students drop into Book World like rocks into a pond.  Yesterday a teacher stuck her head in and spoke across the classroom to me in a normal tone of voice and we all jumped as she so “rudely” pulled us out of our worlds.  We laughed and laughed.  This is what I care about–not MAP testing scores.  I know my students as readers.  I know their tastes, I know their weaknesses and strengths.  No test score can measure reading engagement or the learning that takes place when the reader sees a character take care of bullying in a positive manner.  No test measures the type of student growth that I see when Alejandro says to me in a conference, “I’m working on my difficulty with jumps in time (flashbacks and flashforwards) by reading time travel books.  I’ve noticed that if I pay careful attention to the setting, I can follow the jumps in time.  But don’t you think this book would be more interesting if the author had written a little brother into the plot?  That way the plot would have had more complications.”

I do use testing to help me know my students.  Running records with a retelling give me a lot of information.  Conferences give me more.  MAP testing gives direction to my conferences when none is given by the conversation itself.  I just hate the fact that my students measure their reading ability by their performance on the MAP test–a snapshot of reading performance on one day reading out of context material.

One of my students wrote the following poem based on the poem At the Library by Nikki Grimes:

Book World

by Chris Intriago

Book World……

Book World is a world with no

Explanation, Book World is so wonderful

And unexpected because weird stuff happens

That makes you happy like

Wild animals helping each other

Or

People helping other people even if it’s a stranger

These things just happen

In

Book World.

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