Archive for February, 2012

Testing Student Patience

Posted in Musings, science on February 8, 2012 by roxteacher

I teach at a HS that for decades was in the top 5% of high schools in our state. Last year we were in the top 15% for our state science scores yet over half of our students were not proficient by the state standards. By 2014 all 100% of our students must be proficient. In our haste to improve our scores we have turned our classrooms into places where these state exams are talked about all the time. Valuable instructional time (that should be used to work on inquiry skills) is spent worrying about state tests. Lost in the confusion are the students, the joy of learning and the joy of teaching.

The emphasis on test preparation HAS revealed a lack of interest and effort on the part of the students. They have very little stamina when it comes to reading the test questions and they have poor reading skills to begin with.

Here is a question from a benchmark Study Island assessment that is supposed to mirror the types of questions that the students will see on the state test.

Most of my students got this wrong. The students were very clear that they “gave up.” They all complained that this was “so much reading.” When I write questions like this on my own assessments I find the same thing. The students just don’t have any “stick-to-it-ness.” Many students have grown accustomed to assessment questions that are short and sweet and never rise above lower order thinking skills.

I don’t see this changing anytime soon. What are the rest of you seeing?