Why I Love Testing


For real. I love testing because…

I know what is expected of me and have already shown myself that I am ready for the test.

My teachers have already observed me and given me the feedback that confirms that I am ready for the test.

I know I will be successful on the test.

The test will give me multiple opportunities to demonstrate my knowledge, skill and understanding via multiple modalities.

I will get to use all my languages during the test to show my learning–I will get to show my learning of a new language, and I will be allowed to use my entire linguistic repertoire to make sure I am communicating as effectively as possible.

The test will both challenge and affirm me in many ways and the experience will help me grow.

The experience of testing will help me be ready for my next phase of learning. (To borrow a line from Eighth Blackbird: There’s no rehearsal like a performance.)

Everyone involved, including the teachers, will be learning at their own stage of development through the testing experience.

The test will give each person a chance to demonstrate to ourselves and others that we have met strong standards of excellence.

The test will be cognitively, physically, emotionally, and spiritually exhilarating.

Everyone taking, leading and observing the test will be there ready to show love and uplift each other.

The test will be a celebration with the whole community.


Wouldn’t it be something if this was how we all experienced tests at school?

As I reflect on the many tests I have taken and observed at my gem of a karate dojo, and as my twins prepare to join their older sibling at the rank of junior black belt, I desperately wish assessment practices in our schools felt even remotely like this. What possibilities would we open up if we disrupted our notions of testing, redefined our idea of success, and reimagined how we measure and mark our progress and achievements?

Fist with plum blossoms.
That day I broke the board. I used technique, focus, speed, strength, breath, and spirit–brought them together in one moment. But to be clear, I was successful because I faced the board. It was just extra cool that I also broke the board. Then I went home and made it into art.

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