A teacher shared this photo taken outside Arne Duncan’s office.
Merkoline reports from Massachusetts
My typical students are teenagers with “challenging behavior” including autism. Most have other neurological or psychiatric diagnoses as well. For example, C is a non-verbal 12-year old, diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disability (PDD) and anxiety disorder. During a bad spell, which might last for several weeks, without redirection he would spend most of his day pacing in circles, biting his own arms, or pounding the back of his neck. He can’t sit more than 30 seconds Continue reading
“Education refugee” Nancy relates this:
D landed on his chair with a thud and then tumbled off the other side onto the rug. Falling off chairs is common for kids with ADD and one of the many reason D must take the Massachusetts high stakes exam Continue reading
Chad from Indiana writes
To measure progress so I can assess my students’ growth throughout the year, we take acuity tests. We’ve taken the same acuity tests ever year…despite wrong answers, multiple correct answers on multiple choice questions, and my favorite an essay question Continue reading
As a 4th grader and coming from a family where English is a second language, taking a standardized test in English was already enough to send me into panic mode. Then there was that weird little pie chart to show you how much you sucked and that you were in the “not proficient” category of math or English. Every two years we’d drop everything for testing boot camps. I felt robbed of time I could be spending learning instead of testing or getting ready to take the test. But how else could my teachers measure whether I knew about the earth being round and what year Columbus discovered America? Continue reading
Ann B. from Illinois writes
Right now in my school we have one big standardized test: the Illinois Standard Achievement Test. We pore over the data and make instructional decisions based on any score deficits each school year. We make adjustments to the curriculum as far down as at the Kindergarten level. Our school has excellent test scores and has received several awards. In addition to this big standardized test, we give the AIMSweb Benchmark Test in reading and math three times per year. Students identified with deficits as a result of this test are worked with in small groups and are tested every ten days to monitor progress.
Now enter the despair. Continue reading
Lisa M shared this letter of apology to her students:
I am sorry.
I am sorry that, yet again, I am placing another test (or assessment if you like using big words) on your desk. I am sorry that I am, again, forcing you to take another test.
Yes, I know this is the 3rd test in a week, but you don’t understand.
In order to meet your needs, I have to collect data. Lots and lots of data. So much data in fact that I will never be able to Continue reading