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Let's Weigh the Cow Some More

Publication Date: 2003-11-08

Here's accountability: Teachers are given 24 hours to correct and tabulate thirty 23-page tests. And that's just for starters.

Newly implemented for this school year: quarterly testing (even though we run on trimesters) in addition to yearly testing. Quarterly tests come straight from the "summative assessment" portion of the newly adopted language arts series and the recently adopted math series. As well as a writing test. None of these scores are to be used for classroom grades or reporting. They are to be sent to the district office. They aren't, and won't, say what they are doing with them. I asked.

The district doesn't send the tests until the day before the testing window. They send packets of tests and directions for giving it, with a deadline (5 days) for turning in scores. All absences must be made up within that window. No answer key, no instructions about how the scores are to be reported; just the info that we score our own. The day before the deadline they give us the answer key and answer sheets to be filled out and sent to the district. This means that I have a day to correct 30 23-page packets, enter the scores for each section in on two different sheets for each student, and get them turned in.

The schedule looks like this:

Oct. 27 -31st: Writing test. Five paragraph essays. All scored and turned in by Friday.

Nov. 3rd - 7th: Language Arts test. 23 pages worth per kid. All to be scored by me and turned in by Friday.

November 10th - 14th: A 3-day week, due to Veteran's day. The end of the trimester; whatever classroom assessments need to be finished up for the reporting period will be done this week.

The weekend of November 15th -16th: I get 30 report cards ready for the 30 conferences I'll be doing the week of the 17th - 21st.

November 17th - 21st: 30 conferences before and after school. Meanwhile, we are doing the required district math test. To be scored and turned in by Friday. They won't tell me how long it will take to give or score. They don't expect to pass it out until the day we give it.

Three weeks' worth of tests. They aren't paying me any extra to grade 30 essays or 23-page exams in one or two days in addition to our regular classwork. They aren't saying what they'll do with all of those numbers. Did I mention that the test is based on the new language arts series, which they ran out of before they got to me? We haven't seen it the entire first trimester. It's "on order."

But boy, oh boy, we're enthusiastic testers. Whether or not we've got the budget for it; it can just be one of those "duties as necessary" mentioned in a teacher's contract.

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