Testing IS the Answer

standardized test

I am late to the party on this one, but I’ve finally realized it: testing IS the answer! My favorite NFL football team has not won a Super Bowl in decades. I’m not an NFL coach, GM, owner, and have never played in the NFL…BUT I know exactly what it takes to win a Super Bowl: testing.

I think that once the NFL season begins in July, my favorite NFL team should test all its players in the 40 yard dash, shuttle run, verticle jump, and 225 lb bench repetitions. This should only take about a week to do for each cohort of players. Although access to much of the facility’s resources will be prohibited during this testing time, it will only be for a 4 week cycle to get all players tested.

After the 4 week cycle, practice will go on like normal–except for the players who did not score well. They will do extra 40 yard dash, shuttle run, verticle jump, and 225 lb bench repetition activities in addition to their regular football practice schedule and/or do these extra activities in place of parts of their regular football practice schedule. To make sure we are building winners, they will be tested in these areas every 2 weeks or so, in place of football practice, to monitor their progress.

The entire team will then be tested again in September. Again, players will only miss one week of practice, and access to the facility’s resources will be prohibited for only the new 4 week cycle to get all players tested. This testing period (and all testing periods) will provide critical information–hundreds of pages of reports–as to how our players are learning and coaches are coaching. There may be players cycling in and out of extra drills and progress monitoring during this–and each–off-testing phase.

To remain sharp and lock in on the division title, we will test again in November. We will again miss only a week of practice, while prohibiting access to much of the facility’s resources for only another 4 weeks. This will provide valuable progress monitoring data to drive the next phase of practices, as well as continue making big picture decisions for our organization (coaching staff, practice methods, improvement goals, etc.).

To stay sharp during our playoff run, we will test again in January. This final testing period will take us right into the Super Bowl in early February. January’s testing data, along with the previous 3 cycles of testing and data (thousands of pages of reports!), should not only prepare us to play in the Super Bowl, but should also provide a very good predictor as to how we will perform in the Super Bowl.

So, NFL owners, below is the blueprint to winning a Super Bowl this season. You’re welcome.

                                                             2016-17 Football Schedule
July 28-30 Camp opens, football practice
July 31-Aug 27 *Testing
Aug 28-Sept 18 Football practice
Sept 19-Oct 15 *Testing
Oct 16-Nov 16 Football practice
Nov 17-Dec 14 *Testing
Dec 15-Jan 3 Football practice
Jan 4-Jan 31 *Testing
Feb 1-Feb 4 Football practice
Feb 5 Super Bowl
*Allow time and flexibility for malfunctioning and incompatibility of equipment to abruptly shutdown testing sessions for hours or days at a time.

Not a football fan? No worries. Here’s an analogy for you…

My home state of Illinois is in a world of dysfunction as it pertains to its budget. If you are not aware, here are some…highlights(?)…including the lack of funding to provide free public education. Nope. Not a typo. The lack of funding to provide free public education: ISBE Estimate of Number of Days School Districts remain open 6.17.16.

Now, I am no law maker. Nor am I a finance guy by trade. Nor did I attend law school. Nor do I teach Economy or Business classes…BUT I know exactly what it takes to balance a state budget: testing.

All lawmakers should be tested on their ability to balance a state budget. Each testing session will only require one week away from the daily work of balancing the budget, and would only prohibit access to major resources in completing everyday work for balancing the budget for 4 week windows (to allow for all lawmakers to be tested). To keep our lawmakers sharp at budget balancing, this will occur 4 separate times during the year. Lawmakers who do not meet scoring benchmarks during testing will receive support in addition to their everyday work, and in many cases, will receive support that replaces their everyday work in balancing the budget. And don’t worry…time will be set aside from the everyday work of balancing the state budget for disrupted and postponed testing windows due to technical difficulties.

There you go lawmakers. The blueprint to a balanced state budget: 4 weeks away from balancing the state budget to assess your budget balancing aptitude, and 16 weeks without access to major resources to balance the state budget so that we can assess your aptitude in balancing a state budget. Problem solved. You’re welcome.

Now, to find a way to apply this to Education and student learning….

P standardized testing  student standardized testing

standardized testing hopscotch
Standardized assessment hopscotch


  1. Tony Meinerding said:

    Disagree since it’s been proven that some of the best “Testers” at the combines are not the best “players.” Think Tom Brady who was charted as one of the worst “Testers” and has gone on to be a pretty good “Player.” How about just trusting teachers to know their students? I’m not against all tests since Continuous Assessments and Formative Assessments can play a key role in student achievement. One aspect of skills tested at combines is the fact that players will continue these tests – bench presses and sprints to name just two – throughout their playing careers and the skills those tests display – strength, power and speed – are needed for NFL players. Students who take summative tests know that those tests have zero meaning in the real world – the 21st century world where the “C’s” of communication, collaboration, creativity and critical thinking – are supposed to rule. I’m for a world where is something matters then test it – test the “C’s.” My thinking is when people like yourself have a platform and use it to drum the company bandwagon (test, test, test….) we in education are already divided and conquered.

    July 6, 2016
    • Sam LeDeaux said:

      Thank you for reading and commenting, Tony. Great points! I couldn’t agree more.

      July 6, 2016
    • BK said:

      Great post Sam, well done. I am sorry that Tony did not see the sarcasm in your column! Keep up the good work!

      July 6, 2016
      • Sam LeDeaux said:

        Thank you, BK. I can read the passion in Tony’s response, and assume that the sensitive hot button topic combined with his passion blurred the lines of sincerity and sarcasm. Regardless, we’re all on the same team, and the same page. Thanks for your support, BK!

        July 6, 2016
  2. @8amber8 said:

    Oh my lizard…did Tony even READ your post?! Bless.

    Awesome post, SL!!!

    July 6, 2016
    • Sam LeDeaux said:

      Thank you, Amber!

      July 7, 2016

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