Thursday, April 4, 2013

Longest Day - Part II

Yesterday was another killer and has left me drained and stressed -- it is after midnight and after tossing, turning, and remaining totally awake for almost two hours, I am out of bed for a cup of hot milk, and trying to determine what keeps me awake tonight.

Day 2 of State/Federally mandated, NCLB testing was horrible.

All year I have been working with several of my VERY LOW kids.  Helping them realize they can learn to read, and getting them to actually read.  They have gained skills.  They are reading at home.  They are learning.  They are 5th graders, just learning to read and have begun to see themselves as "readers."

Telling them how hard work pays off, getting them to do homework, to read on their own, to choose books they can read and be proud of that.  To believe, if they work, they can do it.  I have witnessed a great awakening in them the last couple months as they read a passage, understand it, and KNOW they can read!  I have watched them go from refusing to write, to writing longer and longer responses to passages they read.

I have been proctoring (supervising) a group of 5th graders.  Their reading levels are so low, I have to read the Writing and Math tests to them.  I can't read the reading test because, well it is assessing how well they can read.  In their cases, it showed them how they CAN'T read; it is not appropriate for them.  It is so far above them, we can't gain any insite, see any improvement.  All it does is gives us a negative mark for No Child Left Behind, and makes students like the group I have realize they are less-than!

Day 1 of testing, I watched hope die in one of the students who realized how incredibly low his reading level is.  He entered the testing room ready to show what he knows. I watched the belief he CAN learn to read dwindle. After the first passage, he gave up, turned pages as others in the room turned them, and filled in bubble after bubble, just guessing because the test was not appropriate for him.

Day 2 of testing, and more of that hope died to where I struggled to get him to follow along when I read the test.  He guessed for most of it, I'm sure.  I can't help them in any way, other than to read the test to them.  For this child, I could also make sure he was marking the correct bubble for the question we were working on.

For that, I HATE NCLB.

I HATE mandated testing.

It is not fair.

It proves nothing.

And for those who need the most help, it destroys their belief they can learn.

2 comments:

Gracey is not my name.... said...

How many do you take? My 5th graders...
3 math tests
2 writing (1 a prompt/1 skill based)
3 reading (1 CloZe/2 Read Comp)
1 science

Except the reading tests, the SPED kids can have it read to them..unlimited time..unlimited time for the ELL's and some have it read to them (the MIST, except the reading ones)
the SPED kids tested with the SPED teacher, but it was not good (I had 8, 2 just left...I had 11 at one point)

I tested the mid-level ELL's, they took the regular test with ext time and 1-1 dictionaries...

I understand the need to test everyone on the same thing....but I just don't think that 1 test should be the basis of the labeling of the students/schools as unsuccessful...day to day the make gains..and then these tests come along and make them feel horrible about themselves again...

Next year we are suppose to have a fully computerized test....we have 900+ students...and about 50 computers..

Fiber Jewels said...

The state tests are not timed, so all students have as much time as the need, even if they are not done at the end of the day, teachers will stay late.

Only if it is on their IEP can the test be read to them.

Grades 3 and up have one day of each reading, writing, math. Certain grades have science, forth graders will be taking that today.

All students also take NWEA MAP tests which are on computers.

As I haven't worked with high school students, I do not know what the graduation requirements are up here in Alaska.

Part of our evaluations will be student scores on state tests. Not sure what that means for special education teachers.....