I don't believe it's the best way to show what students should know or be able to do. But, it is a fact of life. So our teachers spend time teaching students how to build endurance, patience, have confidence about test taking, and how to understand why we take these kinds of tests. It's a whole genre on its own. In fact, one of our reading teachers, Amy Greene and a former third grade teacher, Glennon Doyle Melton, co-wrote the book. Literally. It's called Test Talk. I admit I work on these strategies with some ambilavence.
Just before my little team and I walk out of our small group testing space, I give permission for students to perform acts of arm flatulence and mouth popping, giving credence to the spontaneous performances a few minutes earlier. They are thrilled but wary. I just want them to get it out of their systems before we enter a quiet hallway. They readily accept this invitation and I know my ambivalence is justified.