Testing: 1, 2, 3 – Encore, almost

It’s that time of year again! State testing. The Wonderful Knowledge and Concepts Exam. Criterion Referenced Items (a.k.a. WKCE-CRI). Rubrics. Fill in the bubble next to the correct answer choice. Make sure you erase completely and make your new mark heavy and dark. Use only a number 2 pencil. Any questions? You have 40 minutes. Begin.

I teach in a public virtual charter school, an online school, and my students live all over the state of Wisconsin. Since we can’t expect all of them to come to us, we go to them for the required tests. After the Packers beat the Rams on Sunday, I put on my test season sweatshirt (above), packed my bags, and got ready to go.

My destination: a hotel in a major metropolitan area with conference room or rooms that will hold all of our area students. Four of my colleagues and I set up camp in our hotel rooms, including connection to the hotel wi-fi and an in-depth investigation of the in-room coffee makers. We had supper in the bar (the hotel restaurant was out of our price range), checked out the conference rooms for size and set-up, and then settled into our hotel rooms again to relax.

I set out my clothes for the next day — casual, yet teacher-dressy — including my school name badge (so parents will know who I am) and my district ID (in case the state agency decides to audit us). I’m ready.

In the morning, students armed with number 2 pencils will arrive, ready to attack their test booklets.


I hope they all remember that multiple choice items have only one answer, and they should make their marks heavy and dark.

And I sure hope I can forget this repetitive test proctor speech so it stops running through my head and invading my dreams at night!
Note: this is an encore post with a few revisions to bring it up to date. I’m settled into the same sorta-ritzy hotel as last year, with four coworkers instead of two because our enrollment skyrocketed this year. The number of students to be tested in this location doubled, as did the number of younger students that need a benchmark reading assessment. Later – later this week, perhaps, I’ll share some of the trials and tribulations of maintaining test security on the road. 

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