Journal: Testing Rant

I tested the students on Monday using a CASAS listening test.  One of the awesome office folks from the college graded them for me this morning, and most of my students either scored a tiny bit better or significantly worse than their pre-test.

Seriously, CASAS?  It’s one thing if my students don’t show progress, but regression of more than one point (one student scored 10 points lower) probably has much more to do with the different forms of the “same level” test than it has to do with my students’ abilities.  If I can’t assign meaning to their scores this time, why should I any other time?  And if the scores are meaningless, why should I waste class time on the test?

No, it’s not fair to just get annoyed with CASAS.  It could have also been that as I started to give the test, the air conditioner repairman arrived, so we had to switch to the stuffy room next door and listen to the muffled sounds of him drilling.  Or it could be that our audio cassettes (why hello, 1997!) and players don’t necessarily have the best sound quality.

So let me broaden my question: Seriously, test-obsessed world?  When there are so many variables that impact standardized test scores and we can’t actually attribute the scores to student learning, why do we waste time and effort obsessing over test scores?

Students: 5

Countries of Origin: El Salvador, South Korea, Dominican Republic, China

What surprised me:

  • That I had five students even though it was pouring down rain outside, though not in the apocalyptic manner of last Thursday.
  • The dialog we wrote together up on the board began with an ominous tone but de-escalated nicely:
    • What are you doing?
    • I’m looking at you.  What are you doing?
    • I’m thinking about fixing my car.

Today’s Objectives:

  1. SWBAT use SiPr and PrCo correctly and appropriately

What went well:

I gave them the complex, nit-picky worksheet from the book and it really challenged them to use their knowledge.  They all made a ton of errors, but I was really pleased that they understood the corrections we made.  That being said, I kind of wish we had another week of class to go break it all down and build it up again!

What I’d like to improve upon:

I think we should have done a more structured review than we did.  I underestimated how much support they needed to remember the forms and functions of the two tenses.  We still got there.

Thoughts for tomorrow:

The Flyswatter Game to review the tenses, writing the dialog of the video on mute, and par-tay!

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