Tuesday, March 15, 2005

We don't need no education

Today was Day One of the Terra Nova standardized tests, not counting the practice test we did yesterday. I gave the Reading and Language Arts section today. It includes beginning and ending sounds, rhyming words, and reading comprehension. The questions start off really easy (almost too easy, I think) and then without warning, they launch into these super-challenging questions. There are 4 diffferent short stories that my kids have to read (on their own) followed by 3 or 4 comprehension questions that my kids have to read and answer (on their own). Oh, and it's timed. 8 minutes for one story, 4 minutes for another, depending on the length of the story.

The worst part is that after the first story, some of my less enthusiastic readers figure out that they don't even have to try. They just fill in any ol' answer circle and close their book. They wind up with 6 minutes of free time while the rest of my class struggles to read the story.

When this test is graded, what will the results actually prove? If I have 5 or 6 kids who make random guesses and happen to get some answers right, it doesn't mean anything. And honestly, after the first 30 minutes of these tests, even my higher-level kids get tired and bored and frustrated and just stop trying. It's a waste. I'm wasting 4 days of my week for this. There are more meaningful activities I could be doing with these kids in that amount of time.

But since I have no say, I just have to suck it up and do it. Tomorrow I'm giving the Math section. Should be a hoot.

And on a lighter, less cynical note, I took my midterm tonight. I feel really good about it, but I won't find out my grade until next week.

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