Last week was Benchmark week at my school. Or, as I like to refer to it -- BM week. Four benchmarks! Four subjects! Four mornings of absolute joy!!!
I don't particularly care for benchmark tests. First of all, they often seem to be written by someone who hasn't spoken to a child in 10 years, much less actually TAUGHT one. The story problems always have really weird names in them (and believe me, I teach at a school with some really weird names) like Azcaputle and Terrenicavia. They contain questions that cover concepts that we have not even taught yet. And there is SO much reading involved that a lot of my kids who are good at math but not so great at reading just get swamped by all the verbiage.
Oh, and since we teachers are all a bunch of lying, cheating, stuck up, scruffy looking nerf herders, we certainly cannot be trusted to administer these tests to our own students. So I found myself in another 3rd grade teacher's room for those four mornings, watching her kids (and trying SO very hard not to tell them all the answers and fill in the bubble sheets for them!).
A few observations:
On the Social Studies test, a couple of kids said that a Good Citizen destroys property and breaks laws.
On the Science test, a few students said that it was ok to drink a strange laboratory liquid to identify it.
On the math test, 3 kids were absolutely stumped by the first page. They were not able to move forward until I pointed out to them that that was just the measurement page with rulers and unit conversions, and that question number ONE was on the following page...