The Over-Testing of English Language Learners and Their Teachers
by Jessica Zacher - April 02, 2009
In this commentary I report on some results from three years of ethnographic research in Ms. Romano’s fourth-grade classroom (a pseudonym). Her school, a former Reading First site, serves a ninety percent Latino, high-poverty population, and it requires students to take approximately 35 tests per year. I was in her classroom because I wanted to understand what it was like to teach and be taught in a Reading First school. I found that the testing burdens Ms. Romano and her students shoulder are nearly overwhelming; they are all under siege by a barrage of assessments. I discuss the four main language and language arts tests students take, their links (or disconnects) with instruction, and share some ideas about how to ameliorate the situation in which she and her students find themselves.
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