Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Testing Day

I have heard that there were schools that had the logistics of administering the EL*A all worked out. I heard that these schools had a plan for how kids entitled to extra time would leave their classrooms and where they would go. I heard that they worked all this out at the beginning of the year and have practiced it every time they took a practice test. I heard that all the kids and all the teachers knew just what to do.

Here's how it happened at my school.

Two days before the test:
*Our AP/testing coordinator asked that a master list of kids entitled to extra time (special needs, ELLs, 50*4s) be compiled.

One day before the test:
*We had a meeting about the procedures for administering the test in which little mention was given as to how these extra time kids would get to where they were going. *We had to rework the entire pull out schedule because the AP scheduled all grades 3,4 and 5 to take the test in the same room even though there were over 50 kids.
*We had to rework the schedule again because no one took into consideration that some kids getting pulled out for extra time would already be getting extra time in their inclusion classes and therefore didn't need to be pulled out.

The day of the test:
*We scrambled to get all kids where they needed to go.
*Somehow, one teacher's kids didn't get picked up (or he didn't send them-no one is exactly sure what the procedure was supposed to be). Those kids missed out on an extra 15 minutes to answer questions.

All of these things could have been taken care of had we planned this just a little bit in advance. It is very unfortunate that those kids missed out on extra time that they are entitled to.

Looking at the schedule for tomorrow another teacher and I foresaw a problem with the grouping of the extra time kids. I have the 4th and 5th grade ELLs in one room and she has the 4th and 5th grade resource room kids in another. We were concerned about this because tomorrow is the listening section and each grade has a different read aloud passage. We wondered why we couldn't split it up so that I take all the 4th graders and she takes all the 5th graders. I went to the AP and proposed this to her and she told me no. She said she didn't want to make more changes to the schedule and move so many people around. I told her about our concerns. How are the kids supposed to concentrate on a read aloud when there is another being read on the opposite side of the room? She said she didn't understand how "two adults couldn't read to a small group of kids so that their voices don't project to the other kids." I told her that we are just thinking about giving the kids every chance to succeed on this test and we didn't want to take any chances that they may get distracted. Her final answer-No. She doesn't want to make changes to the schedule.

Why is she willing to sacrifice the success of the students? Would she rather take the chance that they don't hear the read aloud than let anyone know that she didn't think through her planning for the test.

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