Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Giddy Graduates and Testing Trauma

The end of the school year is upon us.  We have about two more weeks until we call this one a wrap. 

I spent most of the day administering the EOC test (End of Course) which counts as part of the exit exam for students as well as their final exam in my course.  I've been giving the EOC for several years now and everything has run flawlessly.  Given that, someone in the State Dept. of Ed. decided that things needed to change because nothing is supposed to be easy, apparently.

It used to work like this:  on the assigned days I take my classes to the computer lab, give them their log-in information, and administer the test.  Simple.

Now it works like this:  on the assigned days I take my classes to the computer lab.  I seat them alphabetically.  I give each student a baggie and a post-it note.  Each student is supposed to put their cell phone in the bag and write their name on the post-it note which they also place in the bag.  If they don't have a phone, they write "No Phone" and their name on the post-it note.  I put all the baggies/phones in a plastic tub which are then secured somewhere in the building.  Then I give each student their log-in information and this is the part that gets me: I leave the room and go across campus to administer the test to another teacher's class.

Apparently this is all to alleviate cheating.  I understand the cell phone thing (sort of), but as a professional educator I find it a bit insulting that someone thinks I would cheat or unfairly assist my students to the point where I am not allowed in the room while my students are testing. 

At the end of the test, I retrieved the phones, bolted back down to the testing room, and returned them to the students. 

And we do it all over again tomorrow.

Needless to say, I got plenty of exercise running all over campus today.   

On another note, today was the last day for seniors.  I spent a brief part of my planning period helping distribute caps & gowns to the graduates.  I enjoy doing that; I had these kids two years ago and it's always gratifying to see them grow and progress through their high school career.  There were smiles, tears, and full blown giddiness.  Half of them couldn't even remember their last name to get in the proper line to get their gowns!

When we finished I returned to my room to finish grading research papers.  One of the senior boys came in to thank me for my support through the years and we visited for a few minutes.  I asked him what his plans are and he sat on a desk with a heavy sigh, clutching his graduation gown to his chest.  "I just don't know...," he said.  "It's kind of scary.  What's out there for me?  What am I going to do now?"  Oh, he has plenty of plans and will be plenty busy, but the whole idea of leaving this comfort zone we've created had him a little rattled.

I saw a couple more of the seniors before my break ended: one wanted me to sign her yearbook and another just came in to visit for a minute and to be sure I would be at graduation.

The halls will be much quieter without some 160 seniors tomorrow.  I expect many of them will be sleeping late!  And the current juniors will all be celebrating because they think they are now seniors (never mind that they haven't officially passed their current courses!)

Meanwhile, I'll be stuffing cellphones in baggies and finishing up the EOC test.  After that, we're back to killing Julius Caesar.

And so it goes.


Jayhawk said...

Why don't they just have the other teacher do the cell phone thing as well a give the test, and save some of the dashing around?

That's assuming that you can't be trusted to test your own students, of course, which is about the most asinine thing I have ever heard.

Anonymous said...

In a nearby parish several people have been forced to resign because they cheated on the tests. I agree. As a professional, it shouldn't happen but it does. Two of the cheaters were principals.

Jayhawk said...

Aha, the light dawns. Does this testing have to do with that "no child left behind" thing, where results determine how much money your school gets?

You would have loved me when I was in high school. I read the textbok the first week, slept through the classes, did none of the homework, and aced all of the tests. I was perfect material for "no child left behind." I graduated in the top 10% of my class and retained virtually nothing.