Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Guess what I got for you?!

In my ongoing efforts to keep my finger on the pulse of the current, I offer you commentary and a rant (and my, how I hate the word rant now that it's become all the rage) on school testing.

Starting at the front: I teach English II. One section, "regular" (not honors) kids. English II is one of the classes that gives the state mandated EOI (end of instruction) exam. What does this mean? Join me as I search for this meaning along with my precious charges.

I am explaning the test to my kids earlier this semester and Larrell becomes facinated (this marks Larrell's first facination with anything academic in my class).

"So you say we can pass this class and we still gotta take a test for it? Why they gotta give us a test?"

"Well, it's a way of proving that the school is doing its job"

"What choo gotta prove?"

"Well, there are people in society that don't think that the schools do their job. Taking this test is one way of showing that I am teaching and you are learning."

"Man, you know what I got fo them?"


"Tha finga."

Yeah, me too, Larell.

Step a bit further into my world. I emailed my dept chair today with several questions. Perhaps you, gentle reader, have some answers. The questions---

-Will the three students I have who are new English speakers be able to use their Spanish/English dictionaries for testing? Imagine this, two essays in your non native language!! Do I think they should learn English? Of course I do! Solving this one is unscrambling an egg.

-Is the Special Ed kid that I got at the quarter (read:last week) going to be tested as though he has been with me since January?

This is the year I call baseline data. Baseline. Data. Ten years of teaching and my whole career will now be judged on the scores from this ship of fools. God Bless 'em. Please. Really, please God. Bless. Them.

So the writing test is Tuesday and the multi choice is the 28th. I am presently up to my ears in writing prompts giving ever possible kind of writing we will encounter and such research has led me to a list. It's not a top ten, I am over those, but here it is.

A real teacher's list of rejected writing prompts for the EOI

-Describe your weapons of choice.
-Something that justifies my behavior is...
-My favorite place to go on a forged hall pass...
-My favorite tattoo.
-For whom do I have Tha Finga?

Comment with your writing prompt ideas and hurry. We only have a few more days to write.

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