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Sunday, April 23, 2006

It ain't over till the fat lady fails

Alrighty then! Now that we are officially done with both the math and reading portions of the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills, we can finally move on to... the Iowa Test of Basic Skills?!? What the --?!
Yes, the consensus seems to be that no one is happy unless these kids are taking some sort of test. TAKS test, ITBS, benchmark tests, urine tests... When will the madness stop???
Apparently, the madness will stop on approximately May 24 (the last day of the school year). Until then, we follow the No Child Left Behind or Untested Ad Nausea policy. So we have one week to get the kids ready for the ITBS. Of course, that's not counting Wednesday or Friday, when we'll be off-campus on field trips. And it might not even be next Monday, May 1, because according to rumor, there will be absolutely no Hispanic kids in school that day. Uno de Mayo might just be a very quiet day at the school.
In addition to having very little time to prepare, we have to throw the kids brains into total reverse gear to prepare for this new test. On the TAKS test, the kids are able to write in their test booklets, they bubble their answers in on their test booklets, and they have as much time as they need to finish the test -- we give them all day. So we have spent all year long training them to take their time, show their work, and go back and check all of their answers carefully. Conversely, the ITBS is a timed test, so if the kids DO take their time and show all of their work, they will not finish the test. In addition, the kids are not allowed to write in their test booklets, so they must use a separate piece of scratch paper in order to do any sort of computations. Oh, and after they've read the problem off of one page, and done the math on a separate page, they have to fill in a bubble on yet a THIRD piece of paper!
Good luck kids, wake me when it's over.


Mrs. T said...

Why do they have to take both tests? That's insane! I live and teach in Iowa and of course, the ITBS is our Test of Choice and of course, our school is consistently on the SINA list because we fail to meet some trajectory in some sub-group. I'd love to see how our kid would do if they had more time, like with the TAKS.
Loved the "Testivus", by the way.

Mister Teacher said...

You raise a very interesting question, and and it's one that I really can't answer. I have no idea why Texas students have to take an Iowa test, but it's nothing new -- I know I took the ITBS back when I was in school, and that was over 20 years ago!
Toto, I don't think we're in Iowa anymore...

Anonymous said...

Wow...we are in the same boat in MO. I asked my class (which mainly Hispanic) how many would actually be there on May 1st and I will only have 9 students out of 29 there. May 1st also falls on one of our field trip days and I asked them if they are really going to sit at home instead of coming to school to go on a field trip. I guess I'm a little surprised that 6th graders are staying home. Will your school turn the kiddos' names into the truancy officer?? I'm wondering if ours will??? There will just be too many to go check on. I'm sorry that you guys are taking yet another test...Texas=Tests!

HappyChyck said...

Nevada = Tests, too! If I spent all the time reviewing for tests that my supervisor tells me, I'd never get to anything else. We take a district mandated test every quarter to see how we're progressing on top of our Iowas, CRT, and writing proficiency (8th grade). Plus, in our school we give common assessments every quarter for grades. These tests are similar to the district quarter tests (since we are all following the quarter benchmarks, duh!) so it's all redundant. By the time my students got to the tests that count for AYP for us, they had taken wayyyyyy too many tests.

And then the students don't care. That's too bad that we've bred apathy towards test by overloading them because in high school all the big tests they have to take FINALLY take on personal meaning. Wanna graduate? Pass your proficiencies! Wanna get into a good college or join the military? You better score well on your ASFAB, SAT, and/or ACT.

At least my students are a little savvy to tests and I don't have to practice for whether they can take their time, write in the test, or not write in the test. I feel bad for you on that aspect. Kudos to all the elementary teachers who teach them the HOW's of taking tests, so we can try to spend time teaching them something later on. Finally.

Poor kids...

Mister Teacher said...

Hi there, happychyck!
Wouldn't it be great if your standardized tests were called the Nevada Assessment of Desirable Skills (NADS)?

HappyChyck said...

LMAO! Yes, that would be beautiful!