All posts tagged: testing

Access Testing (Again)

Every year, the state and federal government requires that we assess the proficiency of all ELLs in our district. At the high school level, this can be a nightmare to schedule, especially with such a large, populated building. However, this year we decided to run an experiment: to test all students on a day already designated for other testing. Each year my school district provides a day for high school juniors to take the ACTs. The building is basically closed with the exception of 11th grade students who choose to participate. Staff are then designated to proctor or assist proctors in rooms. It’s an incredible opportunity for the students to be given the time for such an important exam. Best of all, for them it’s completely free. After last year’s nightmare of Access testing problems, we came up with the idea of also having our EL students arrive on that day and take as much of the Access test as they could complete. For the weeks and days leading up to “Testing Day” my colleagues and I …

Item Analysis

One thing that I have learned from doing this project on tracking student data for ELLs is that there are many layers to understanding data that is collected. I think that each of the layers are equally important and have been the cause of much of my confusion about how I wanted to track the data. While I previously thought that my issue was the collection of data itself and marking whether or not mastery was achieved on one cohesive document, I was lacking a critical detail in in my understanding of testing for mastery: item analysis. What I was not aware of was that item analysis is needed in order to determine whether or not a student has achieved mastery. While I was intuitively doing this, I was not formally performing this action in an explicit way. This is what I have realized that I need in order to fully implement the tracking system. However, there is one last obstacle that I need to overcome. My brain. Having ADHD means having difficulty focusing on one thing at …

105

It’s now day 3 of me trying to come up with a great title for my blogs. I just searched for “linguistic terms” in the Google machine in hopes that I can finally find something to use. Honestly, numbers alone are boring. I have done something like this before when I discovered the hidden secret of creating humorous screen names. Long story short, you take a noun and give it an adjective that is either ironic, backwards, or doesn’t match the category of the noun. For example, legless fish. Or, excellent meeting. Or even, productive day. Get it?Today I found more evidence for why I dislike WIDA. This time it comes from one of the corporations that works closely with WIDA, which is kind of ironic if you ask me. It would make more sense if this information had come from someone who also didn’t like WIDA. But this takes the cake. The whole cake. One of my biggest arguments against WIDA, as I have written about before, is that their products are not all they are …

103

I just realized that I don’t have any fancy way of labeling these blogs. Not that it truly matters, but I did like the way it was written in the novel The Martian by Andy Weir where each day was labeled as a Sol. Sol being the term for a day on Mars because if they were on earth, it would have been day. Duh. However, since I am not stranded on Mars, I need to get clever about what to label the posts as in a way that is both nerdy and meaningful. It also needs to make sense and connect to my prior posts. Oddly enough, this will occupy my brain for at least the next 24 hours. Today was another day filled with a certain level of unease at seeing students who are not being accommodated for. I have one student who has a total of 5 percentage points in one class. Not only is that not good, it’s absolutely unacceptable. I would understand if that student were one the students who never …

102

I started today thinking a lot about how teachers are expecting students to be able to participate, without modifying the way they teach. I see a lot of teachers who are modifying and adapting the assessments, but I am wondering what they are modifying for materials and teaching methods. How are they assuring that those students are able to understand what they are teaching? One student, AA for example, is stuck on learing vocabulary terms for Human Geography. He is oblivious to their meaning in context or how to use the vocabulary to demonstrate his own understanding of the concepts. It’s very clear that little attention has been paid to his learning. In no way am I blaming the teachers. It’s not their fault. Hell, I barely get time to ponder these problems within my own classes. But we cannot keep going in this direction in hopes that they will someday catch on. This is just one student out of many who fall into this category. I did get to watch the end of the …

101

Apparently, my school district is blocking blogger now. I shouldn’t say it’s my school district. It’s the automated software that is blocking it. Oh well, I’ll just take my blogs down as a note in Keep and transfer it when I get home. It’s kind of ironic that this post is labeled 101. 101 being considered back to the basics. Today was running at an excellent start and was feeling really good as the day progressed. Then, 4th hour hit me like a ton of bricks. More to that later. One thing that I have noticed that really boosts my mood is when I get to interact with students 1 on 1. I am not quite sure why this is, but I definitely feel a heightened sense of purpose and happiness after teaching a student something in a more personalized way. Today I got that chance and I walked away feeling really good. I think it’s because you not only make a personal connection with the student, you also get immediate feedback by seeing if …

100th Blog

It’s funny. You never truly realize how hard it is to be objective until you are grading papers and tests. I started to pay attention to my own thoughts and feelings as I was grading a quiz today. Not only is it surprising, it’s a bit demoralizing. Just for background information, it’s a multiple page test. I graded this test not by person but by page. So after checking the front page of the test, I no longer had a name to go with the paper. I realized very quickly that I was paying attention to handwriting styles. Preconceived notions of student behavior then slowly crept in and made it difficult to make an objective decision on the papers. I even had to grab one and bring it back to mark something incorrect that I naturally waived as okay because of my perception that this student is a great student. It makes me think, if I am doing this and catching it in paper, what am I doing when I am giving students direct feedback? …

First tests are in. . .

It’s difficult to decide whether student performance is a reflection of their study habits or your teaching. Sometimes, it’s both. I am really struggling this year to figure out which of the two it may be. For some students, I can tell that I must do a better job of teaching students not only what to study but how to study. It’s one of those things that needs to be practiced in order to be understood. At the elementary level, grading isn’t really an ELL job. This is all very new to me as I am writing my own curriculum. One solution I have is that I am going back into some of my pedagogical texts and seeing what can be done differently or if I missed something. This is a massive undertaking considering that each function in language holds its own research and tools. For now I will try to stick with vocabulary. I am still unsure about how to treat the student’s scores. If I make a value judgement on whether they are …