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.