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Old 02-11-2006, 03:17 AM   #31
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Originally posted by martha


I bet you do. I was thinking about this the other day; how much I don't want to go to a district position because I'd miss the kids and the interaction too much.
I love cafeteria duty....

I have the entire 4th grade in the cafeteria playing Biz Buz trying to beat me and win an ice cream sandwich.
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Old 02-11-2006, 03:27 AM   #32
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Here is the link to the MCAS assessment for 2005. You can see the questions that were used in MA for last years test. For the 4th grade it is considered one of the fairest versions of the test we have seen.

We started using this test in 1998. It is a graduation requirement for Grade 10 in Math and English. Science has been added as a requirement.

If a student does not pass in the 10th grade....there are MULTIPLE chances to pass by the 12th grade and there are PLENTY of chances to remediate students so that they pass.

http://www.doe.mass.edu/mcas/2005/release/
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Old 02-11-2006, 06:06 AM   #33
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Go back and reread the posts in this thread.
i did already
so what?

i could re-forumlate a bit

i suppose the test needs to be designed a bit more appropriate, so it maks sure it really tests skills.

However, the initial statement remains.

I have attended High Schools in the USA (even th eones that where arwarded for educational achievemnts, or however you call it). I did not find them patricularily tough. People, like inmost countries can get away with lazyness and somhow regarding school as a minor detail in life. Sometimes extra credits are rewarded for the dumbest (sorry) thins ever.
I think it is good to have an exit-exam to check whether a student actually got something out of his/ her education or just wormed his/her way through.

I even think it should be on more subjects. Should be on maybe 4. The two mandatory ones and then 2 in subjects the student has followed for a longer time. o get a broader picture. These tests then have to be passed and the results get included into the the cummulated results from the earlier results - for a final diploma.

It is a chance to prove that you know what you oughtto know after this time. The grade cannot be influenced by our teacher liking/ disliking you. Of course it comes with 3 sides:
You have a chance to improve your diploma, to worsen it, or to verify your current level.

I find that an approach like taht would actually be a chance to improve the educational level. Granted it is has to be designed intelligently. However, for that there are various nations the government can get ideas from.
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Old 02-11-2006, 01:42 PM   #34
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I love cafeteria duty....

I have the entire 4th grade in the cafeteria playing Biz Buz trying to beat me and win an ice cream sandwich.
They're going to kick your butt you know.
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Old 02-11-2006, 05:14 PM   #35
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If you cannot pass a basic English test and have a 3.84 GPA, there is something wrong with the school you are attending.
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Originally posted by martha
Sure, they've had the material taught to them, but whether or not they understood it, they're advanced onto the next level, because the extensive California state standards don't leave room for reteaching.
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In 2007 apparently NCLB will be up to be renewed...and...the rumor is they are going to make it so that if your top scores drop, you lose points towards NCLB.
Taken together, these sum up why I feel deeply ambivalent about where all this testing emphasis is headed.

I don't think students should be passed or graduated if they can't meet their system's most basic requirements. And I know there are teachers out there who, for whatever (bad) reason, will rubber-stamp failing students through regardless. On the other hand, it disturbs me to see governments taking the final say on a student's readiness to proceed out of the hands of teachers, who know better than anyone else what each student is truly capable of. I worry that teachers will wind up effectively being blamed for the very real obstacles which class size, variant leaning speeds, and nonexistent parental support pose to their efforts to ensure all students master all phases of the curriculum. I worry this could actually reinforce the tendency to teach things at a pace and style geared to the strongest students, while consigning weaker ones to repeatedly revisit classroom setups that didn't address their needs to begin with. Precise repetition doesn't necessarily address why a student failed initially; nor does failure to grasp some aspects of a concept necessarily show that a functional grasp of its real-life applications wasn't achieved--again, I feel a given student's teacher is better placed to evaluate the latter than a one-size-fits-all test.

Most of all, I think, I worry about undue devaluation of what a given student's GPA reveals about his/her potential. The schools I attended in rural Mississippi, from K-10th grade, were very poor from a college or job preparation standpoint--poorly educated teachers; poorly equipped facilities; and always, the need for classes to be geared towards students coming from homes where parents were illiterate and/or had such low expectations in life as to not see any point to succeeding in school. Nonetheless, I worked hard for the straight A's I got, and I believe they reflected both my teachers' honest evaluation of me and--realistically--their honest evaluation of what lengths they had time and resources to push me to under the circumstances. However, when my family moved to Brooklyn where I finished high school at a very good yeshiva (with generous financial accommodations for poor students), my grades were middling despite equally hard work, and I was not eligible for the "advanced" courses in anything, which bitterly disappointed me.

I did do fairly well on my SATs, but had to study much harder for them than most of my peers did. I didn't apply to any elite colleges: I chose a large but good public university, where I sought out professors I knew I could count on to be honest with me about my progress, relative to other comparably ambitious students, as mentors. I took on tutors for writing and math, even though I could've *passed* my courses without them, because my skills did not reflect my capabilities and I knew it. BUT I knew this only because my yeshiva experience forced me to realize that my 4.0 indeed did not mean what the 4.0s of some of my peers--who'd attended competitive schools in well-off, highly-educated communities their whole lives--meant.

So--what's in a GPA, and what's in a standardized testing score? On the one hand, yes my good grades in K-10 were relative, and didn't show the level of preparedness I'd once thought. (And yes, any college admissions people who assumed they explained my SAT scores were duped.) On the other hand, I think the intelligence, ambition, and diligence indicated by those grades had everything to do with why I caught up to my best-prepared peers eventually. And I strongly believe there was nothing "wrong with" most of the teachers who assigned me those grades--they did the best they could, for everyone, within the environment they inherited. Today, as a professor, I go out of my way to champion and challenge my own bright-but-underprepared students to maintain enough faith in themselves *and the system* to realize that it's not too late to transform the same gifts that once earned them good grades in poor schools in poor communities, into success and competence at a much higher bar. Not all of them make it, especially among the older, "nontraditional" students who've spent years in the job market internalizing a view of themselves as "just not as smart" as their managers, administrators and oft-promoted coworkers who came from better schools. But enough DO make it to convince me that my own experience wasn't some kind of fluke. (I hope and pray that my colleagues in the education department are doing the same thing, because their students more than anyone's MUST not be allowed to limp through: they'll be in charge of ensuring a decent shot at success in life for the next generation.)

Like it or not, students from socioeconomically underprivileged school backgrounds are just not going to arrive at college, or the job market, as all-around-well-prepared as students from socioeconomically privileged school backgrounds. That is simply reality; school is not a magic antidote for the cumulative effects of inequality. I understand why there might be temptations for teachers in underprivileged schools to pass students who have not met the minimum--or worse, to gear their teaching in general towards assuming the least, rather than demanding the most, of their students. Particularly when new requirements keep being introduced "midstream" on students whose past preparation doesn't facilitate it. This was precisely what happened to me at yeshiva, and it took years--not months--of hard work, good mentoring and faith in my potential (from both me and my teachers) for me to catch up. But I never repeated a grade or a class, and I don't think it would have served my best interests to.

I do not feel qualified to speculate how often truly unwarranted passing happens, nor what the best solutions to it might be. But I am deeply skeptical whether standardized testing, followed by forced repetition of what (apparently) didn't work the first time, is the right response. My own experience inclines me to prefer solutions which would give teachers more--not less--authority to decide for themselves which approaches engage the interest and understanding of the largest number of students. And which would reserve for teachers the last word on how ready each student is to move on, and what each student's performance shows about his or her potential given their environment.
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Old 02-11-2006, 05:36 PM   #36
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^this is true. as a result of the county I live in, a shitload of money is poured into our school, also a result of all the booster clubs and donations from rich parents. it's very evident and the avg SAT scores reflect it.

I don't know the solution to the problem...only that schools do need to graduate students who can read, write, and do basic math.
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Old 02-11-2006, 06:19 PM   #37
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I worry that teachers will wind up effectively being blamed for the very real obstacles which class size, variant leaning speeds, and nonexistent parental support pose to their efforts to ensure all students master all phases of the curriculum.
Indeed. Read through conservative accounts and count how many times "teachers unions" are blamed for students' lack of progress, when the students in question haven't had breakfast (or dinner the night before), are in classrooms with too many children, and are subjected to standards and learning goals set by those who've never set foot inside an actual classroom.

Don't forget the state-mandated (and voter-mandated) teaching styles we're required to use, whether or not these have proven successful or not. Then layer on a "gotcha" based series of tests, where no child can be below average. (Which makes me wonder if the folks who came up with that could even pass their own tests. )
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Old 02-11-2006, 06:28 PM   #38
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Indeed. Read through conservative accounts and count how many times "teachers unions" are blamed for students' lack of progress, when the students in question haven't had breakfast (or dinner the night before), are in classrooms with too many children, and are subjected to standards and learning goals set by those who've never set foot inside an actual classroom.

Don't forget the state-mandated (and voter-mandated) teaching styles we're required to use, whether or not these have proven successful or not. Then layer on a "gotcha" based series of tests, where no child can be below average. (Which makes me wonder if the folks who came up with that could even pass their own tests. )
Our science texts are 14 years old.....for elementary school.

There is no social studies text for grades 1-3

The fifth grade in my wife's school is looking at 32 students in a classroom next year.

The second grade is currently at 29.

The pressure is getting greater and greater....

And each year...NCLB raises the bar higher...and higher....

something has to break...
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Old 02-11-2006, 07:30 PM   #39
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And whatever breaks, it will be our fault.
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Old 02-12-2006, 03:34 AM   #40
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Our science texts are 14 years old.....for elementary school.

There is no social studies text for grades 1-3

The fifth grade in my wife's school is looking at 32 students in a classroom next year.

The second grade is currently at 29.

while this is not ideal, it is managable.

the classes i attended have always been this big (sometimes even 36). It took a strong teacher to keep us quiet at times (and those where not necessarily the bitchy ones) but it was ok. If it got out of hand, parents where involved and that helped a lot (during a parents meeting, where the teacher also has back up from other parents concernmed with quality).
After all it is not everything the teachers/ schools responsibility and it cannot be that you dump your kid at school and expect them to do your parenting job.

Many parents encouraged their kids to arrange proper class behaviour aourselves. We had a big discussion round with everyone where we told each other what annoyed us and also th teacher where we thought he could be stricter/ handle thing differntly. Then we made our own class rules that where hung up. If people did not behave according to it and got too loud/ annoying again... well we made damn sure that they got the message.
It really helped a lot, we where of course not a little bunch of military self drilled monsters, but attending class was fun and there was a good harmony.

I don't know, maybe your wife can do something similar. I am convinced that it is always good to actively involve chirldren inproblems they can influence as well. They might be young, but they are capably of understanding.
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Old 02-12-2006, 10:54 AM   #41
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Originally posted by martha


Indeed. Read through conservative accounts and count how many times "teachers unions" are blamed for students' lack of progress, when the students in question haven't had breakfast (or dinner the night before), are in classrooms with too many children, and are subjected to standards and learning goals set by those who've never set foot inside an actual classroom.

Don't forget the state-mandated (and voter-mandated) teaching styles we're required to use, whether or not these have proven successful or not. Then layer on a "gotcha" based series of tests, where no child can be below average. (Which makes me wonder if the folks who came up with that could even pass their own tests. )
Yolland spoke to the potential for teachers being blamed. I'm not sure how the union is now a victim.

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Old 02-12-2006, 02:35 PM   #42
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Yolland spoke to the potential for teachers being blamed. I'm not sure how the union is now a victim.

Because the teachers' union membership is ....teachers!
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Old 02-12-2006, 02:38 PM   #43
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the classes i attended have always been this big (sometimes even 36). It took a strong teacher
Being a student in a class this size is COMPLETELY DIFFERENT than being the teacher of a class this size.

Your attitude is excatly what has gotten US education into the mess it's now in. People who've only attended school, rather than taught it, think that because they went to school, they know all about teaching and what works. It doesn't work that way at all.
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Old 02-12-2006, 05:58 PM   #44
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Because the teachers' union membership is ....teachers!
But it is a separate entity with different goals than individual teachers.
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Old 02-12-2006, 06:17 PM   #45
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But it is a separate entity with different goals than individual teachers.
It is and it isn't.
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