Posts Tagged ‘seniors’
Our school’s activity director, an out-of-character middle management V.P. type if ever there was one, is in charge of senior activities during our state testing. Seniors are exempt from testing around here, as long as they’ve passed the CAHSEE.
He could have had a revolt on his hands, but he handled the senior class with admirable aplomb.
There’s been a schedule change, guys. We need you to show up at 7:45 a.m. instead of 8 a.m.
Cries of shock and defiance. Teachers around me had a hunch that this was just a ploy to make the late students show up on time, and it turned out to be correct. Our graduating seniors didn’t, as a whole, realize this, so our activity director went on with his fake-out.
Now, now, now. Do you want to make it 7:30 a.m.?
Some jokers respond in the affirmative.
Really, now? Why not make it 7:15 a.m.? Or 7 a.m.? Or 6:15 a.m.?
While the jokers kept at it, the protests from everyone else got louder and louder at each suggestion. Our director then almost took on the manner of a charismatic preacher.
But I’m not going to make you get here by 6:15 a.m., and I’ll tell you why. There’s a reason. I was falling asleep last night, and I was wondering out loud what time I should make you guys come on Thursday.
“We have so much to get done, and so much to do,” I said to myself. “Maybe I should tell them to show up at 6:15 a.m.”
Then I heard this voice down from Heaven. He said: “No.”
And that’s why we’re sticking with 7:45 a.m.
Students laughed, and were ready to move on. Because of his authority, and because he joked at the very end, students accepted that arrival time. I said aloud something about establishment of religion, and I think he heard. Into the microphone, he told the students:
By the way, the voice I heard was Mr. Goldsmith’s.
Mr. Goldsmith is our principal.
I hestitated including sample questions just in case students happened upon this site, but I sucked it up and got over it. As per request, here are three representative questions from the harder parts of my Bill of Rights test.
Assume justices on the Supreme Court determined that Americans possess a right to privacy. Which Amendment could not have implied that right?
According to the precise wording of the Eighth Amendment, which of the following actions is prohibited to government agents?
a. Forcing self-incrimination.
b. Torture of potential terrorists.
c. Every type of execution ever.
d. Cruel and unusual punishment.
Soldiers enter your home to stay the night without permission of its owner. They find a gun that is illegal to own under federal law. Which amendment’s protections would not be debated?
That’s what I’m talking about.
These questions require students to piece together what they know about all amendments in question, and then go through the process of elimination.
Keeping with common practice, all the questions are complete sentences, and all answers are generally about the same length.
Your test was too hard.
No, it wasn’t.
The average percentage was failing.
No, it wasn’t.
Confused readers: Let’s do the math. There were 30 multiple-choice questions on this test, each worth two points. The maximum possible score, obviously — he said wryly — is 50 points. Think about it. She saw that most students scored between 14 and 21, and kept 30 as the denominator rather than 25.
To her credit, my master teacher had not heard about my scoring, and had applied her favored conclusion to the issue of test difficutly: Another Student Teacher Mistake.
The 50 points will later be combined with their grades from their two essay questions — 25 points each — to create a psychologically ideal 100-point test.
It was too hard.
No, it wasn’t.
Sure, the questions are hard, but on purpose. Sure, many were just barely beyond the grasp of most of our students. On purpose.
The highest score in either class on the multiple choice was a 24 correct out of 30, and that was from a pretty bright student, and exactly as planned.
Perfect scores mean that it’s possible that the test was too easy, and that, for at least one student, the test did not require thinking. Thinking, by design, is difficult. It is often frustrating. Getting students to think is my goal. Therefore, I would be remiss if I did not make all students think: especially the highest achievers.
Easy tests bore the smart students, lower the depth and breadth of preparation among the middle students and panders to the lowest achievers.
I told my master teacher, when I knew how to phrase it, that I would assess the test results, and I would make adjustments as necessary. That is, I would score the test as intended, which would appear to her as last-minute changes.
Make adjustments as necessary. I like it.
She then abruptly turned and went back to work, as if her intervention had goaded me into this decision. She gets like this frequently, and I’ve learned to deal with it. Generally, I like to delude myself into believing that I know what I’m doing.