Sunshine and Puppy Dogs – The MCAS Experience

freedom [197/366]

The teachers were trained….The students were trained….The administrators were trained….Infrastructure Trial done to test the WiFI….PreCache the testing environment…Chromebooks charged and put into kiosk mode…..

All in preparation for the big day….

MCAS ELA 7/8 -CBT (Computer Based Testing)!

The excitement in the halls was contagious…  students crowding the testing room doors trying to be the first in their seats.. test administrators arriving early to school eager to spend the day proctoring….administrators sporting new “MCAS” sneakers, ready to burn steps on their fitbits …. the build up to this important testing event was similar to the build up to summer break!

Ok I have not lost my mind!…well maybe I have just a little this week 🙂

But all kidding aside… I am not kidding about the energy, commitment, and collaboration by teachers, students and administrators. Not one student rolled their eyes or nodded off during the practice tests and infrastructure trials.. Not one teacher complained about the computer based test training and the learning curve that this new environment caused…Not one non MCAS testing teacher or student complained about being displaced for the day.

EVERYONE involved understood the importance of not only the state standardized testing but the importance of the transition to a computer-based testing environment.

I will not saying that we didn’t have log on issues or Chromebooks that needed to be updated before testing could begin. What I am saying is that everyone involved had patience, were problem solvers and were strong support systems for each other.

We all have either been or seen test coordinators running from room to room assisting students and test administrators, It is what they do. But have you seen paraprofessionals providing tech support to students and teachers? Have you seen when test administrators trouble shoot tech issues on the fly? Have you seen building principals covering bathroom breaks or returning Chromebook carts with minds of their own to the library?  I have to say that I have not until now.

No wonder I had a smile on my face for the last few days. It wasn’t because, as a tech director, I get giddy about anything computer based….tho that does make me happy.. What put the smile on my face was hearing student and teacher comments like “That went well” …”Once we got started it was pretty smooth”…”Look what I figured out how to do”…”We rather take this test on the Chromebook”…….

Obviously, I am not quoting the less than positive comments. This is not because it was all sunshine and puppy dogs. I am not quoting the negative comments because I need to model what I learned from my colleagues during this process… together…. have a positive attitude…. do it for the students….. and always be open to learning new things..




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I am the Director of Academic Technology at Mount Greylock Regional School District in Williamstown Ma. As a former classroom teacher and school building administrator, I have always had a strong commitment to education. My belief is that when we create innovative environments for our students and teachers so many amazing things happen! Our teachers are energized and our students are learning skills that will support them as they follow their passions. MassCUE Board Member METAA Board Treasurer

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