Daily Archives: October 7, 2007

Test Prep

Last week I gave my students study guides for their novel final exams this week. One of the teachers in the copy room saw my study guide and asked why I give the students all of the identifications, quotes, and essay questions. I explained that I see teaching as:

1. Tell the students what they need to know. I show the students everything I want them to learn, skills and content.

2. Teach the students what they need to know. We learn the content as we learn the skills.

3. Make sure the students show me what they need to know. The exam reveals to me how well I did in teaching the material and skills, and it shows the students how well they did. The exam is as much a test of my success as it is representative of student learning.

If I see very low scores, I know we need to practice more and redo the final exam or project. If scores are high, we were all successful.

Anyway, the teacher in the copy room with me seemed surprised that I would give the students so much information that will be on the test or in the project. I simply stated that I don’t believe we (teachers) should surprise students or try to trick the students. I believe students should be responsible for their learning but with known targets and standards.

I don’t give the students every question, but I do give them every identification and skill required.


Out of Class

One pet peeve I have is honesty. Another is being pulled out of my classes for trainings.

This week I have to leave my classroom to participate in a training. I don’t mind trainings, but I abhor missing classes for it because it’s twice as much work for me.

Last June my department was told we had to attend an assessment training, but it would only be a half day. Since we have great reading assessments, we knew there wasn’t much to discuss except for range finding and creating anchor sets of answers.

However, when we returned from the summer we were informed that the training had become a full day because the district wanted us to attend ELL training as well. This angered the department because we were assured we’d only be out of school for a half day. It’s why we agreed to attend. I understand the training is important, but I like to attend trainings after school or on weekends.

Well, half of the department (there are 20 of us in total) attended last week, and the ELL portion never occurred! It was an entire day of assessment training!

Now they have to attend another day of ELL training. We started at a half day out of the classroom and we are now at two days. We are not happy because the district office wants us to do this again next semester. My turn to attend is coming. Grrrr.