Wednesday, April 25, 2012

This Time It Counts

The Volunteer State has put into action a number of education reforms over the past few years, some good, some bad, and some we're still trying to figure out.

This year, for the first time ever, the Very Big Deal Government Mandated Tests actually Count For a Grade.

Let me say that again in case you just bashed your head onto the keyboard in shock - This Year For The First Time Ever, The Very Big Deal Government Mandated Tests Actually Count for a Grade.

We're not exactly sure how this is all going to play out.  This year the score counts as 15% of the spring semester grade.  Our last test is Friday, and the last day of school is May 22, so that's not a lot of time for the tests to get processed and some scores sent back to us.  The Principal said to "be prepared for anything."  Our traditional promotion and retention meetings are pretty much out the window until the scores come because it probably will make the difference in passing and failing for some kids.  We've been asked to sort of have a list of kids "on the border" to keep an eye on should they either pass or fail once the scores have entered.

Now, we have been telling the kids this (and the parents) over and over and over all year.  No more just sitting there and bubbling in Christmas Tree designs on your form.  It counts.  No more finishing in ten minutes.  It counts.  No more napping during the test.  Because, you see, It Counts.

Amazingly enough, I still received a few parent emails from parents who either don't read the paper, listen to the news, pay attention to The School Newsletter, don't read my emails, or basically have their heads in the sand so deep that it just now dawned on them that their darling may not make it this year due to The Test.  These are, for the most part, parents I've been poking and prodding and cajoling and calling and basically trying to get them to PARENT FOR GOODNESS SAKE! but they just couldn't seem to get it together enough to make a parent meeting, sign an agenda, or return a phone call.

Really.  And now, they're worried?  They should have been worried when I made that first phone call last fall.


ChiTown Girl said...

I am stunned by this. Whose brilliant idea was that?!

W.R. Chandler said...

In the words of Napoleon Dynamite:


kherbert said...

In Texas the test is pass fail in 5th grade. If you don't pass the reading and math sections you don't pass 5th grade. This year the kids get a break - new test STAAR so they aren't retaining kids based on it this year.

What if the parent opts the student out? We are starting to see a groundswell of teacher support/anti test opinion. In some areas parents are sending letters opting their student out of the test for ethic/religious reasons. (same law that they can use to opt out of a novel they don't like or Sex ed).

I know that in the uppper grades their test is counting in some cases on their grade. The legislature did not make a provision for what to do about the grade if the parents opt out, so districts that are having this happen are scrambling.

jwg said...

Have you had any parents refusing to let their kids take the test? Now they would be my heroes. I'm beginning to sense a backlash which can only be described as a good thing.

TeacherFromTN said...

We finished up yesterday, but one of the schools in our district lost power in the big storms Thursday morning. The kids were sent home, and their TCAPs have to be finished up on Monday. So, so glad to be done and heading into the last crazy three and half weeks! Now, we wait to see if they get those babies scored and back to us in time....

Mrs. Bluebird said...

We have had absolutely no parents in our building refusing to let their kids take their tests. Even the home school kids in our zone were there, and one of my students who is homebound with kidney disease was there. I think it may stem from several factors. One, they are all used to the high school kids taking end of course tests that count, I believe, towards 25% or more of their grade. So having tests that count is no big deal. It may also stem from the fact that all this was put into place with the new teacher evaluation system that was used to win the Race for the Top funds - and if their kids' test scores count towards 50% of a teacher's evaluation (yes, you read that correctly, 50%) then the kids probably need a stake in it as well. Not a peep in the media, or the parents (once you explain it).