Friday, May 13, 2011

EOCs. Boo.

(Warning:  I'm whining here.. just need to get it out.)

My district decided this year that we were going to give EOC tests this year in Algebra 1, Geometry, and Algebra 2.  Ok, that's fine.  But here are my problems with it: we're giving the tests in the beginning of May (our last day of school is June 3), we're giving it in addition to our final exam, and the test itself basically means nothing.  Sure, I can count it as a grade, but there's nothing high-stakes about it to really make the kids care.  For the kids who care about their overall grades, that's fine.... but in my general-level Algebra 1, it's basically a day of torture for me.

I noticed on the Algebra I test that there were several topics that we actually didn't cover during the year (like simplifying radicals and probability) so this week we did a review each day of different topics.  I spent a couple of days on probability (we rolled dice, flipped coins, and played Deal or No Deal), one day on graphing lines/inequalities, one day on writing equations of lines.  I worked hard each day to come up with some review problems to go through in class and for the kids to practice with.

So today is test day.  First, a bunch of the kids (and I only have 9 students here to take it) were surprised to hear that we were taking a test.  ("What?  You didn't tell us!  We have to take a test?")  Then they were mad because it was scantron and 48 whole problems.... even though I told them to take as long as they needed and I would give them more time to work on Monday.

I passed out the test in sections.  The first section is non-calculator... which is great except that I've let them use calculators all year (because quite a few of the kids can't work with positives and negatives).  Two of the students finished the test in approximately 5 minutes.  They tried to turn it in and I refused.  I sent them back to their desks and told them to actually work on some of the problems.  (One girl insisted that she had.  Uh huh.)  When I finally gave them part 2 (after a couple of other kids who seemed to be legitimately working finished the first part) they both sat with their heads down, didn't open the book, and turned it in a few minutes later.  One student "didn't hear" me say three times that they could write on the test and also "didn't hear" me say that the first part was non-calculator.

The one thing that I do appreciate right now is that there are two boys still working.  These two boys are the smartest ones in the room but some of the laziest.  (One of them dropped down from College Prep for 2nd semester because of his behavior (but that's a whole different whining session) and the other insists that he's going to take an Honors level math class next year... I offered him college prep but I don't know that he's going to go for it.)

My one savior is my autistic OCD student who is currently down in a special ed classroom working on the test.  It will probably take him a week to do it (even though I cut out some problems) because he's so meticulous and feels the need to do things over and over until he feels like they're right.  And he'll score the highest.

Fourteen more days.  Fourteen more days.

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