Benchmark tests are being given this week, and they are always an annoying interruption to our instructional schedule. We have to rearrange our rooms, proxy another class while they test, and lose hours of valuable class time.
Today was the math benchmark. There was a question on this test that asked, "What is the best estimate for the height of a table?"
A) 30 yd.
B) 30 ft.
C) 30 in.
D) 30 mi.
The majority of kids in the third grade chose B, 30 ft.
This reminded me of an afterschool jam session I was present for last year. One of the math department people from the district had come to our school to talk to all of the math teachers. One of the specific examples that she referenced was a question on a previously given TAKS test that said, "What is the best estimate for the length of a boot?"
A) 7 yd.
B) 7 ft.
C) 7 in.
D) 7 mi.
Of course we all knew that many of the kids had chosen 7 feet as their answer.
The lady asked us, "So what do you think you should be asking a kid who chooses 7 feet as their answer?"
I responded, somewhat reasonably I thought, "Can you show me how big 1 foot is?" My thinking was that they probably didn't know how big a foot was compared to how big an inch was.
How very foolish of me.
The lady practically ignored me and shouted, "You should ask that child, 'Whose foot are you measuring?'"
Like some kid is actually going to picture Big Tex in his mind and think the question is about him.
But, I am of course a district drone, so I suppose tomorrow I will be asking a lot of kids,
"Whose table are you measuring?"