Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Nobody else thinks this is wrong?

Today I was at a meeting at the Intermediate School District. I am part of a group that meets monthly to look at data and make decisions about how the data is presented to schools, what data we want to be in the data base, etc.

Today we were looking at results from a multiple choice common math assessment taken by all 7th and 8th graders in all middle schools in the ISD. One thing we noticed is that some students (a very small number) marked answer choice E, even though each question only had 4 choices (A, B, C, D.)

I thought I was probably asking a stupid question, but I asked it anyway. "Why are we giving them a scan sheet that has five options when they only need four?" Apparently, that is the only scan sheet option. And NOBODY else seemed to have a problem with that. There were comments like, "Well, that is how the MME is, so it is good practice." or "It gives us a chance to teach good test taking strategies."

I don't get it. With all that we can and should be teaching our kids, we have to now spend time on the tricks of taking this one specific test? Because we can't find a scan sheet to match our needs? And nobody else can see how ridiculous that is?


  1. I tend to think a lot of things about testing are ridiculous. In my school, we give our kindergarteners six summative assessments during the year: a pre-test in August, three target assessments, a post-test in May, and the state standardized test in April. In the meantime, we are giving them formative assessments to determine learning as we teach, with the expectation of taking time out of each day to prepare the babies for those many summative tests (filling in bubbles, answering open responses correctly, etc.) when what it boils down to for promotion to 1st grade is whether they can read or not. Wow. I guess I got on my own little soapbox there. So sorry LeeAnn! I do definitely sympathize with you about testing issues!

  2. Hey, by the way, I was wondering what literacy programs you might be familiar with for elementary, particularly K-2? I am on the committee to adopt new literacy materials for the next 5 year, and we go next week to preview what's available to us. We have used a program called "Sing, Spell, Read, and Write" for over 10 years now (possibly 15). It is definitely time for change, but our administration used that program as a Kinder and 2nd grade teacher, so there is some resistance to change. Feel free to check me out at! I welcome any literacy tips and's my favorite!

  3. Agreed -- silly silly! We're teaching kids, not trying to trick kids!

  4. That's just absurd. Really. ABSURD.