Wednesday, March 15, 2006


Thankfully tomorrow is the last day of proctoring a state-wide test that students must pass in order to receive their diploma. I am conducting the retakes for those who have failed twice already. I have been testing the past two days and it has been brutal.

Students with learning and mild disabilities are disadvantaged by this standarized test. Some have an opportunity to pass while others have no hope. What good is it to receive a certificate of completion indicating the individual went to school for 12 years, or most likely 13 years due to retention?

Students receive accomodations on the test such as extended time, use of a fraction calculator, and some sections read aloud, (those sections testing their comprehension is not included) yet material is read aloud to them everyday in the classroom. Isn't comprehension of verbal skills important for a job or even just surviving in the real world?

When you go to the grocery store or to a discount store how are the purchases calculated? Do they really need to know how to calculate the area of a figure that measures this or that?

Of course they need to know how to write. Yes, spelling would be good too, however with word processing (which they use to type their papers at school) has spell check. Have you ever sat down, been given a writing prompt, and time frame to write a quality essay? That is not even done in schools. They are often given days to complete such tasks.

Let's remember I teach students with disabilities, some with IQ's below 70 when the average is 100. It isn't easy, nor is it fair. Their self-esteem falls lower and lower each time they hear that they did not pass. Every Child is Left Behind, thank you Mr. President.


Lacey said...

I have known 4th and 8th graders that are terrified of these tests. My little sister is in 8th grade and she couldn't sleep well the night before the tests were to begin. She even threw up. My mom became concerned that she wasn't eating. My sister is an average student but the thought of not advancing with her peers because she is bad at tests scared her!

Sambo V. said...

Standardized tests are hard for many children and I've always hated them myself. Who's to say the best way to REALLY assess a child or person's knowledge is with pencil and paper?? The NCLB Act seems like a lot of talk coming from officiates, but it's the teachers who really have to care enough to make sure no child is left behind, or made to feel insuperior. I'm glad your testing is wrapping up! ;)

Da Gal said...

Wow - that sounds like a very difficult and frustrating situation. I have worked with disabled (or as I like to say.. differently abled) persons for the past 18 years. Those tests have nothing on real life tests and abilities. Sad that its used as a means to determine if someone can graduate from high school. Can't think of a single time my algebra skills have been used since I left high school. Math however... now that comes in handy when I am knitting. teehee.