We have just finished two weeks of benchmark testing. We had Math, Reading and Language Arts one week, and then finished up with Social Studies and Science this week. The results were beyond disappointing. I know we make these tests hard, on purpose, but we've never had a seventh grade test so low.
And I mean really, really low. We have our datachat this next week, so we'll see what kind of interesting ideas come out of it.
In any case, the kids hate benchmarks, don't see the point in them, and frankly could give a rip. We keep telling them that these scores become part of their record and that any teacher in the future could pull them up and see what they've done, but that doesn't make much of an impression. After all, for these kids, the future is lunchtime.
We had one fellow in my homeroom, who's really quite bright but working on being a completely clueless knucklehead because "It's cool!", who got a bit carried away with being lazy and instead of reading and taking his tests, decided to code all the answers with the letter C. He then proceeded to tell all his classmates who promptly dimed him out and told us. Of course, by then, he'd already taken three tests.
When Mrs. Social Studies saw that he had bubbled in all C's on his test, she went nuts. She yanked him out into the hall and gave him a piece of her mind. The Principal found out and gave him a piece of her mind as well. And, for good measure, Mrs. Squirrel, one of our AP's, did the same. And then it was decided that he'd end up taking his tests again. (We caught him at this by the time the Science test rolled around - Mrs. Squirrel came into my room and gave him a good long stare that dropped them temperature in the room about 30 degrees and scared not only C-Boy, but everyone else in the room as well.)
So, C-Boy, who thought he was being clever, ended up having to miss some of his elective classes and make up the tests again. He was not happy. The other kids all found out and got the message that it probably wouldn't be a good idea to goober up on a benchmark.
On Thursday, we're doing our review for our unit test, which is a PowerPoint with sample test questions, followed by the answers so the kids get immediate feedback and we can discuss the question. I always warn the little goobers that memorizing the letters and the order of the answers is pointless because I scramble them and they aren't in the same order as the test. This is met with a groan of dissapointment from those who were looking for an easy way out. However, the kids tend to like this review and it helps them see where they need to focus.
Anyway...we do a test question, and the multiple choice answer happens to be the one that goes with the letter "C".
Red-Headed Boy in the back raises his hand and when I call on him says, "Hey, I bet C-Boy got that one right!" and the class all cracks up, even C-Boy.
Every single time we get an answer with the letter "C", the kids start making snarky comments about C-Boy. He's pretty amused with the attention the first few times, but as the class period winds down, and his classmates keep teasing him, he's starts to get a bit disgruntled. By the time the period was over, he was pretty fed up with the teasing. He didn't say anything smart back (which was actually one of the smartest things he's done in a while), but definitely wasn't laughing.
The funny thing is, we, as teachers, could go on and on with this kid about what a stupid stunt he pulled on his benchmarks, and it would go in one ear and out the other. However, once his peers start picking on him about it, it hits home.
Bet he doesn't do that again. But you can also bet that I'm checking his answer sheets carefully.