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Monday, April 25, 2011

A Farewell to TAKS

Ah, the final year of TAKS. Next year, we will have the new, the improved, the probably-not-that-different STAAR. (The extra A is for Anyone's Guess)

Tomorrow and Wednesday are the 3rd grade math and reading TAKS, respectively. Today, I tried to relax and encourage the kids and to instill in them the belief that they could all pass. My morning class was their usual zombie selves.

Me: "Are we going to pass tomorrow?"
One student mumbles, "Yes," while nobody else says a word. OK then, thanks for coming everyone, turn off the lights on your way out.

In both classes, I told the kids I would buy them all pizza IF everyone in the class scored an 80 or better on both tests. I told them I would buy them all pizza and ice cream if everyone in the class scored a 90 or better on both tests. I told them I would buy them all pizza and ice cream AND everyone would get two orange tickets (gold) if everyone in the class scored a 100.

To this, one girl replied, "Awww, I was hoping you'd get us all lasagna."

Thank you, Garfield.

Now I can just hope and pray that my kids take their time, use their brains, and do what we've practiced all year. Oh, and I can be thankful that I don't work in a state where tomorrow will count for 50% of my yearly evaluation.


Alex T. Valencic said...

I just read an article in NEAToday about value-added assessment being used to evaluate teachers. The article cited research to explain why linking teacher evaluation to any test scores, including value-added, was bad, but I was wondering: is value-added assessment useful for evaluating students over the course of the year, or is it over-all a bad idea?

Mister Teacher said...

Hey Alex,
I'm not sure what exactly they mean by "Value-added" tests. Can you expound?

Alex T. Valencic said...

From what I understand, value-added assessments compare a student's test scores with his or her own previous test scores, rather than comparing within a grade level. Some schools use these tests to evaluate teachers, under the notion that effective teachers will have all of their students improve from the end of one year to the end of the next.

The NEATOday article can be found here under the "'value-added' measures" tab:

Edna Lee said...

We start our state testing in 2 weeks. UGH! I wanted to scream as I watched as one of my students coloring the pictures in her practice test book instead of taking the practice test, despite my reminders to use her time wisely. "But testing is booOOooring," she said.


Mister Teacher said...

Alex, SUPPOSEDLY, they do compare a student's test scores against his own. The problem is that in 3rd grade, our kids take the TAKS, but in 2nd grade, they take the ITBS. This is like comparing apples to oranges, yet they try to do it anyway.
Another problem, for later grades, is the matter of the really bright kids who ace the 3rd grade test but then make a 90-95 on the 4th grade test. The 4th grade teacher gets screwed because their student showed negative growth...
Edna, good luck to you. I am happy to have our testing season over and done!

Alex T. Valencic said...

Okay, thanks! I know that there are a lot of things that sound good in theory but turn out to be less-than-helpful in practice.