Tuesday, September 26, 2006

A Case of Adolescent Alzheimers

Today was benchmark testing day for those of us in the science department. Benchmark testing is something our district has been implementing over the past several years as a way to assess and monitor how well our students are mastering the required standards. It's a fairly good predictor of how well they'll do on our Big State Mandated Test in the spring. The idea is that we'll see which students need help in what standards and then we'll do remediation with them. The problem is we rarely, if ever, have time to actually do the remediation, outside of the ten days that are penciled into our pacing guide prior to the Big State Mandated Test. But that's a story for another rant.

Anyhow. I walk into the teacher lunch room today and Mrs. Eagle sees me and this huge grin breaks across her face. "Have I got a story for you!" she says.

This morning when we went to pick up our copies of the tests (test security and all that), they were all stacked up in piles and labeled which was nice as we didn't have to count them out. Counting out 135 tests can be a drag. All the science teachers did testing today, so there were piles of sixth grade tests, seventh grade tests, eighth grade tests, and some physical science (advanced eighth grade) tests as well.

Which might explain how Mrs. Eagle ended up with four physical science tests in her pile by mistake.

All her kids sit in rows during testing and she simply counted out the number of tests for each row and the kids passed them back. Consequently she didn't realize that there were some physical science tests in her pile until some ten minutes into the test when she does a walk through the room and spots a page that just doesn't look right. And then another. And another. And finally another.

Here's the amazing thing. The kids didn't say a word. Not one of them noticed "Eighth Grade Physical Science Benchmark #1" emblazoned across the top. None of them noticed that the entire front page was chock-full of formulas for things like velocity, acceleration and the like - things we've NEVER talked about in seventh grade this year. And yet they just started to take the test!

Which makes us wonder...are they so lost on a daily basis that nothing looks familiar? Are they just that clueless that they figured it was just a chapter they blew off and didn't pay attention to? Or are they, as Mrs. Algebra said, suffering from Adolescent Alzheimers???


HappyChyck said...

I like that Adolescent Alzheimer term. I'll probably steal it. I think that they may be many students who are used to taking tests that are pretty meaningless to them, so if the content doesn't seem familiar, then OH WELL. That's the way it is in my neck of the woods...

MV said...

Innocent children... Innocent about Physics too!