What she wore: Purple shirt, black pants, purple clogs. Some of the kids said I was "stylin’ and profilin’" and others said I looked like Barney.
We are now in high gear preparing for standardized tests. The kids are practicing open-response questions every day in one class or another. They are so tired of hearing the words "benchmark test." Mr. K has reached his limit. Whenever he’s mad his cheeks get pink and today they just stayed pink after the kids had left. Besides all the talking, cheating, and general disorder, he’s realized how far behind some of them are.
Today he was working with one of the special ed kids and he realized that she couldn’t subtract. Now, we know the kids struggle with negative numbers, but this girl couldn’t subtract 8-1. He’s in shock. I’m in shock because I’ve seen her test scores and her IQ isn’t terrible. I feel certain that she can’t subtract because she’s never in school. I may have to make moves to get her placed in a class for kids who are really behind. An inclusion (a class with regular and special ed kids mixed) class is not the place for her–she needs serious help.
Mr. K has decided that tomorrow he is going to have a subtraction quiz with positive and negative numbers. He says he wants proof that the kids come to us ill-prepared and that obviously they don’t have the foundation they need when they come to middle school.
I think the shock for me is how many of our kids have a substandard performance, but have passed each grade. In the states I lived in before (TX and LA) students were held back if they failed–here in AR it is frowned on and children are passed on from year to year with no skills. Luckily, now there are tests at each grade that measure performance. I hate standardized tests, but it’s not fair to only test kids every couple of years. This way we can see where the problems started and address them earlier.
Don’t worry, though, I’m optimistic. I feel certain that many of our kids have made major improvements this year and I think it will show this summer when the tests come out.