As an avid fan of the University of Kentucky basketball program (that will be advancing to the Sweet 16), I look forward to the month of March and all of the craziness that go along with the NCAA basketball tournament. After all, this is the time when Cinderella teams capture the hearts of fans and sports writers across the nation. The month of March allows the top 64 teams to display the skills that they have been prepping for since late October. This is the time in which teams get to show how they have responded to the various letdowns or mishaps within the regular season. This is the time in which our favorite teams’ performances matter the most.
I liken the frenzy of the NCAA tournament to the March Madness of standardized testing (e.g. GHSGT). Much like the “field of 64”, this is the time in which our students have to demonstrate the skills and knowledge that they’ve learned over the course of the year. Also similar to the NCAA tournament, the breadth of an entire season (or school year) is often depicted in a short span of 4 tests. I can assure you that this part of the season is stressful…for our teachers, for our students, and for our parents.
Admittedly, I’ve noticed a slightly lessened degree of stress lately. When I speak with other high school principals, they too, have noticed less stress on their respective campuses. Maybe this has something to do with the realization that the NCLB waiver removes [some of] the stresses of making AYP (since AYP was a component of NCLB). Maybe, with the implementation of the waiver and less stress on making AYP, our teachers and students are more focused on merely demonstrating their competencies and measuring their learning gains. Regardless of the cause, I welcome anything that fosters less stress for our students and teachers. After all, the buzzer-beaters and Cinderella upsets of the NCAA tournament is stressful enough!
I hope that your favorite team is still playing as the third round of the NCAA tournament comes to a conclusion. Next stops include the Sweet 16, the Elite Eight, and the Final Four. In comparison, next stops (after the GHSGT) are AP Exams, End of Course Tests (EOCTs) and Senior Week!
Yep, March Madness is definitely upon us.