Students will be able to hopefully complete the first six week common assessment exam satisfactorily enough that it looks like their teacher taught them something in the last month and a half.
Today my kids are taking a required common assessment exam, which should help me see how my students are doing compared with the other sophomore English teacher. My students are supposed to take one of these exams in each of their core classes every grading period. This will translate to roughly twelve days of English testing this year, not including the big state standardized tests, the PSAT, or anything else I must throw at them. Today I am mourning the lack of teaching time. I would like to do a current events lesson with my students in which they read information on and editorials about the testing phenomenon in public education. I think it would fun to debate if and how testing enhances educational attainment. Also it would be kind of meta for them to examine their lives from perspectives outside of their lives. They always seem really interested in finding out how I do my lesson planning (or maybe they’re just hoping I’ll drop test answers), so maybe they’d enjoy seeing how states plan and write standardized tests and curricula. Then again, maybe it’s just me. I can be a nerd like that sometimes.
Since most of them have grown up taking standardized tests multiple times a year, today’s exam doesn’t phase them, but I feel sorry for them – and for me. Sorry for them because this exam I am giving them today and tomorrow is focused on the standards we’ve covered but not had a chance to review, so they’ll probably do rather poorly. Also, the readings are rather blah. I feel sorry for them as well because next week I’m going to give them another test over To Kill a Mockingbird and expect them to be able to transition instantly. The day before we take this unit test, they will spend a class period filling out the bubbled-in answer sheets for the PSAT. Their English classes will be rather unstimulating for the next few days…but I feel REALLY sorry for me because the only thing I can do for the next two days is watch them test and grade papers. I’m barely halfway through my morning and already my day feels twice as long as normal. Also, I’m out of coffee. Must get a coffeepot for my classroom. And a pencil sharpener. I get asked several times a day if I have a pencil sharpener and I don’t. What kind of teacher doesn’t have a pencil sharpener??