We just finished the ELA portion of state testing. It was unreal. I'm not sure what went on in other grades, but the ones I saw did not seem at all appropriate for the intended grade level. Besides the passages themselves, a number of students could not understand the questions well enough to compose any answers, we are not allowed to explain any words, and personally I felt that the kids' questions were mainly reasonable (i.e. the words they didn't understand were not the type that you would expect every kid at that level to know. Some, sure, but not all.) Of the multiple choice questions, there were quite a few where there was such a fine line between the correct answer and the "second best" or even third best that even I wasn't quite sure I knew which was intended. And the whole thing was so long and cumbersome; I think something half the length would have been just as sufficient to see which kids know how to comprehend and respond to text - instead, we'll get a very skewed view because many of the kids were so burnt out eventually that they started skimming and guessing. Even if they curve the grades, it won't help all the students who might have done OK on an appropriate passage but were so lost today that they couldn't conjure up any response at all. What a waste of time. The worst is that many students will be so frustrated now that they'll give up trying. You would have thought the people (it took great self control not to call them anything else just now) making up the tests would have been more careful after last year's talking pineapple debacle. What is the world coming to?