Today is the last day of state standardized tests for the 7th graders. They are sniffly this morning. A sniff over here, a sniff over there...drives me nuts and I know it distracts some of them from there testing. What do you do about it? Go around with a box of tissues and innocently throw a couple on all of the sniffilers desks. Then, walk around with the trash can to collect the gooey snot rags. Works well!
Tomorrow they get a break. Only the 8th grade SBA test includes a science portion as well as the HSGQE (high school graduation qualifying exam). So, my 7th graders dont have to do any testing tomorrow and we are going to have a fun day. It's nice that I got assigned 7th graders because it gives me a chance to get to know a few of them before they become my students next year in the 8th grade.
This is the second year that the students will be taking a science portion of the HSGQE. They took it last year, but the results were not shared with the schools because it was the pilot year. I wonder how they will do and if we will get results this year. I was talking to a HS student yesterday who skipped over Earth Science her freshman year in order to jump straight into advanced Biology. Now, she's worried about being able to pass the science HSGQE because there are alot of questions on the test about Earth science. I think we do a disservice to students by allowing them to skip that class. They lose a whole chunk of science that way. I have had many conversations with our principal about it and hopefully, it wont happen at such an extensive rate next school year.
Alaska is a bit behind the trend of HS graduation tests. In Ohio, the kids have to pass five tests in order to graduate...reading, writing, math, science, and social studies. Here they only need the first three. But science is on its way and I'm sure social studies will be behind that. In Nevada, I had to pass a science portion to graduate 10 years ago.
I am having a study session with my 8th grade students today to help them with some test taking strategies for passing the science portion of the SBA (standards based assessment). I hope they do well, but there are so many things in the test that I know they havent learned yet. Science curriculum is extremely weak in the elementary school here, then when they get to JH, they take life science as a 7th grader and physical science as an 8th grader, but they dont get any Earth science and there are alot of questions on the test about Earth Science. I was pleased to see that there are many questions on the practice test that directly relate to the topics that we've been studying in my class, which is how it should be. If a teacher is using the standards to plan curriculum for their class and then the test is written from those same standards, then the test should match up with the content that the students have learned in class.
I have been extremely tired the last couple of days after school, which doesnt make sense since I'm really not doing much, but sitting here watching the kids take the test and occasionally explaining test instructions or reading test items aloud (I have LEP kids). I think that is actually why I'm so tired after school lately though....I'm bored! I'm so used to running around and working my butt off with the kids in my classes. I'm just not used to this sit at a desk and watch thing. And it's sooooooo quiet. My class is very rarely ever quiet. We are always busy...doing...talking...experimenting. I think I'm probably as glad as the kids that today is the last day of testing. I'm ready to get back to the excitement of teaching.