No Child Left Behind or What?
My week has been absorbed with test results flowing back from the Big State Test. Apparently, our state department of education is being led by an idiot and her crew. Approximately 70% of our state's 6th and 7th graders failed the Social Studies test and 60% of the 8th graders failed the Math test. Our illustrious leader has decided to throw out the Social Studies results but she is letting the math results stand. It is impossible to go on to the next grade in 5th or 8th grade without passing the Reading and/or Math tests, unless, of course, you go to summer school, retake the test and pass. (If you don't pass, your parents may request a conference with your former principal and teacher and you may be promoted administratively. That information may not be widely known, however.)
All hell's done broken loose, here. It was revealed that people in the State Department of Education knew that students were going to fail the Social Studies test in record numbers and did nothing to prevent it. They told no one. They also knew that the math scores were going to take a rather large dive and also did nothing. Their rationale was that the curriculum and standards had changed, so, of course, some kids were going to fail. What they didn't take into account was the fact that lots of kids who failed the Big State Test were Honors students who had made As and Bs all year long.
As I said, All hell's done broken loose. We're talking summer school, a retest and possible retention for kids who were honors students. I am surprised that our state superintendent hasn't requested a body guard. Parents are calling for her resignation and her recall. Wheeeee!
I have not heard the state failure percentage on 5th grade in math: I know that our school failure rate was right at about 20%. Some of the kids who failed were expected: if you don't know your math facts what do you want me to do? I can't possibly teach you pre-algebra if you can't add, multiply or work with decimals. And that is the whole problem. When the state changed the standards, our glorious leaders didn't take into account those children who haven't, can't, didn't move ahead quickly enough for whatever reason. Our state requires second graders to master multiplication facts.
I'll give you a minute to let that sink in.
Second graders to master multiplication facts. Second graders can barely add with regrouping and yet we expect them to multiply. Hello?
I am all for keeping up with China and Japan and India, but at the same time, I am all for a curriculum that is age appropriate and is it really appropriate for a second grader to be held responsible for multiplication facts? I just don't think so.
But, hey. No one in the Department of Education asked me, or any other teacher, about changing the standards or writing the tests. Trust me. The Social Studies questions would have made sense and the Math questions would have matched what the teachers taught. I guarantee.
And guess who's looking for a slew of summer school math teachers?