Wednesday, May 15, 2013

STANDARDIZED TESTS

I wanted to give my students some credit because recently we had our round of standardized tests.  In Ohio, sophomores take the Ohio Graduation Test (OGT).  I have three classes of sophomores and we prepared for three straight weeks for this test.  The students didn't love it but they were diligent in their preparations.  It was tedious for them and me.  Well, the results are in.  Out of the three classes everyone passed except one student who barely missed.  He'll pass the next time.  That's 55 out of 56.  I'm proud of them and I'm relieve for them.  They don't have to test again.  I'm not a fan of these tests not because I disagree with tests.  I don't like that they are written by people other than teachers.  Some of the language is so stilted I spend time teaching the vocabulary of the tests rather than the concepts they need to know. 

Additionally, my Advanced Placement students took the AP US history test today.  After talking to them they feel they killed it.  We spent a lot of time reviewing and studying together to get it done.  They were very confident they beat the test to death.  BOOM! 

Sometimes it good to be a teacher. 

3 comments:

Always On Watch said...

I teach a course in SAT Verbal prep. The test is the enemy -- as far as I'm concerned and as far as the students are concerned. In contrast to the tests that I took for college entry, the new SAT is not testing knowledge -- but rather students' ability to think like Leftists, particularly on the Critical Reading selections, which clearly are Leftist in slant. I have managed to get my students -- conservatives all -- to come up with the answers that the test accepts as correct. To the point that several of my students have garnered perfect scores on the Verbal sections!

I must say that my students typically have little difficulty with the Writing sections. It is the Reading sections that cause the grief largely because my students read classics as part of the curriculum.

Case in point of some of the kind of stupidity that appears on the SAT...A few years ago, the timed-essay prompt was "What do you like to do when you're naked?" Sheesh. You know what some of those essays must have been like! That particular essay section was thrown out and had to be retested because there was such an outcry from parents and educators.

You can find online other essay prompts from College Board.

Law and Order Teacher said...

AOW,
Thanks for the comment. I agree with your statement. The test questions are the devil. A few years ago my department took the Ohio Graduation Test questions from an older test and reworded the questions. Magically, the scores of the students skyrocketed. It wasn't that they didn't know the material. The questions weren't in the language that sophomores understood. They should let teachers write the questions, right?

Always On Watch said...

Yes, I agree with you that teachers should write the questions.

A few years ago, one of the best readers in my class did poorly on her first SAT attempt. I had her start reading Leftist material on a regular basis so that she could get "the lay of the land." Voila! She then scored well into the 700's on the Critical Reading section.

Tests should not be designed in this manner, IMO.

I read not long ago that one of the designers of Common Core is now the president of College Board and getting ready to change the test again so as to reflect the material in Common Core. See this information about Common Core. Some of the proposed reading material would bore me to tears -- particularly if written in legalese.