Today was the last day of standardized test prep for the state writing tests that begin tomorrow. Today’s strategy lesson was based on an article by Barry Lane called, “Fake Writing Day.” In this article, he makes important points that my kids need to hear. Lane states that writing to a prompt requires a different kind of thinking and a different kind of writing process than any other kinds of writing they will ever do. It requires that they have a “fake” kind of writing process.
After we’d finished the lesson and had looked at prompts from other years, the kids started asking me questions. “Why do ‘they’ (oh, the mysterious ‘they’!) give fake tests? Why can’t we just write something that we would like to write that would show how well we know the traits of good writing? Why not just tell us right out what the real purpose of these test are- to teach us how to take tests, not to show how we write? Don’t ‘they’ trust you? Don’t ‘they’ trust us? The last questions really made me pause, and connects back to one of my earlier SOL posts.
I don’t know- don’t ‘they’ trust me? Don’t they think that I know my kids better than a group of test writers? Don’t ‘they’ think I’ll be fair? Rigorous enough? Objective enough (if such a thing is possible)? How did it get to this point? How do we stop it?