Miranda Schuhle

Secondary English Methods Education
Professor Meg Goldner Rabinowitz
Due 12/1/2015

As a student I was always indifferent to assessments. The majority of my experience with
assessment as a student was typically generic standardized tests. It ranged from essays, multiple
choice, and short answer tests for my local assessments and then I was familiarized with
standardized regents exams, AP exams, state tests, and SAT/ACT high stakes tests. I had always
been a fairly strong test taker so I never stressed too much about test taking. Testing came easy to
me and I never studied too much for tests when I was in elementary through high school.
However, because testing was a strength of mine, I never developed proper and effective study
habits.
When I got to college I realized that I no longer could just walk blind-sided into an exam.
I found out that studying for more challenging assessments meant I needed to spend more than
20 minutes looking over notes right before a test. Because the majority of my assessments were
exams before I arrived to college, group projects and extended papers were assessments I was
not familiarized with. I struggled my first year of college because I feel that my experiences
before post-secondary education in school did not properly prepare me.
My first time giving my seventh grade math class a test was an absolute chaotic disaster. I
had not assessed them formally yet and I had only been teaching them for two weeks because of
a dramatic schedule change after the first few weeks of school. The day of the test I had a
horrible cold and I realized how bad some of my students’ test anxieties were. I had a student
who had mastered the material on the independent review the day before leave his test
completely blank. I had another student start a problem and get stuck so she just gave up and
crumpled up the test. One of my students would not even get in his seat because he refused to
take the test. I learned quite a few things from that experience. I needed to take the pressure off
of tests and I had to adjust how I was teaching. I then began teaching in a stations structure that
could be accessible for all students by meeting them where they were (addition, multiplication,
or division).
Another enlightening experience I had with assessments with some of my more
challenging students was during the first report period benchmarks. I realized what an injustice it
is to make children sit still for three hours straight (silently) when they have various disabilities
that make it even more challenging than your average middle school student to do so. During the
benchmarks was not even as bad as afterwards. Because my students had been sitting in absolute

silence for three hours when the benchmarks were over it became a point of no return. I sent my
students that I had pulled for small group testing back to their homerooms to join in various
activities such as team building, movies, or board games. Out of the 8 students I had for small
group testing, 6 of them got written up for a Level II violation. All of the energy they stored up
during those three long hours came out all at once and several of my students literally could not
control themselves. I anxiously look ahead at the upcoming benchmarks and further dread
proctoring the PSSA’s this spring.
I have found that people in general learn differently and can show what they have learned
in various ways. I have also seen how true that can be for my students whose various abilities
and disabilities don’t align into a standardized assessment mold. There are so many ways to test
someone’s knowledge and abilities other than a multiple choice test. I think that our country’s
push towards this direction in assessment does not help create functioning adults in the real
world.