Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The First Test

As a rule, I rarely give a test on a Monday. Face it, the kids go flying out of here on Friday, nary a book in hand, and they don't even think about school until Monday morning shows up. However, we have this thing called scope and sequence and a pacing guide which basically gives X amount of days per unit , and Mrs. Eagle, Mrs. Robin and I are behind by about two days. So...instead of waiting to give our first test later in the week, we had to just suck it up and give it on Monday. And to make it even worse, we did our first attempt at authentic assessment as well.

We got the bright idea (and I still think it's a good idea) that it would be more effective and real if, instead of having the kids answer multiple-choice questions about measurement, we actually had them doing it. They actually did this test in the form of a lab the week before, they had 2-3 homework assignments on density, volume, and area, they got a study guide telling them exactly what to expect, and they could use a calculator. How hard could this be?

Apparently quite hard if you don't care enough to even attempt to study.

Out of 130 kids, I had 6 that actually passed. Most of them couldn't remember the formulas for volume, area, and density. A lot of them used inches, rather than centimeters, despite me telling them for two solid weeks that we ALWAYS use metric in science. Many of them, even if they had the formulas right, couldn't do the math. With a calculator.

And then there was the vocabulary test. Sixteen words, two weeks, an easy 100% if you try. We're talking the lowest level of learning and they couldn't even do that.

And I'm wondering why I'm surprised. It's the typical seventh grade mental melt-down. I keep hoping that maybe, just once, I'll get a group of kids that actually put forth the effort to pass a test.

I'm going to go bang my head against a wall.


CaliforniaTeacherGuy said...

How's your head? Feel better now?


Mrs. Bluebird said...

Sigh. Not really. I guess I'm an optimist and always hope that this year will be different.

Anonymous said...

That is ONE thing I don't miss about teaching! Why is it kids never learn formulas??? I taught chemistry and pre-algebra as well as social sciences. It drove me nuts! And then if they learn the formula they can't decipher a word problem to apply it.

Well, press on...