Love, Teach: 16 Things You Can Do While Actively Monitoring during Standardized Testing (or the next time you’re crazy bored) I know I use a lot of superlatives, but administering standardized tests is pretty close to the worst.
Let’s stop for a second. I know what you’re thinking. “What’s so hard about handing out papers and watching students take a test? That sounds pretty cush to me. I would love to do nothing for six hours!” Wrong-o, my friend. The type of “nothing” that you are thinking of probably involves a lot of things—reading a magazine or a book, checking your phone, looking around idly—but this is not the “doing nothing” of standardized test administration. No computer/phone/technology of any kind. No writing, drawing, doing crossword puzzles, or Sudoku. No lunges, jumping jacks, or anything that would distract students. No grading papers or getting caught up on work. No sitting for more than a few minutes. No standing in one place. No zoning out. The State would call this "actively monitoring. " Advanced Proctoring Techniques. When I was part of the Professional Development program at the University of Michigan, I would always give a short talk on the basics of proctoring exams.
Here is the two word summary: Proctor aggressively. I would talk about changing location in the room periodically, making sure to watch them take the exam, things to watch out for, etc. We also discussed what to do if a student was cheating and all the other things that you would be bored to read about right now. Back then, I'd been teaching for under ten years. It was easy enough for me to carefully watch students take an hour exam and to advise others to do so. So when an instructor like me sits down to proctor, it is much harder to remain enthusiastic.
Technique 1: Practice your psychic powers Pick a student. Technique 2: The horse race Someone is going to finish first. And also someone has to finish last. Technique 3: Who will die of the deadly disease? Anyway, you have that list in front of you, right? And always remember... 17 Things You Can Do While Actively Monitoring a Standardized Test.
There’s just no way around it, people.
Testing season is upon us. We could talk all day about what’s wrong with standardized tests: that they kill creativity, discourage critical thinking, pad the wallets of people whose wallets most definitely do not need padding. But the one of the worst and arguably least manageable aspects of standardized testing for teachers is this: active monitoring. Active monitoring is an especially torturous form of boredom designed by The State to prevent students (and teachers) from cheating on standardized testing. Teachers may not talk, sit, grade papers, write, draw, read, use technology of any kind, or do anything that would be a distraction to students. 1) Walk around 2) Watch students take a test Fifteen minutes of having nothing to do is a nice break.
Until now. Last year, I wrote a blog post featuring sixteen things teachers can do while actively monitoring—things that will keep your mind and body occupied without breaking any testing rules.