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Why Do You Ask?

From asking questions that require an answer To asking questions that require a conversation.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A Day of Intention

What is the true INTENT?  What did we really MEAN when we wrote...?

That was the crux of today's meeting with a Georgia State DOE Program Specialist, Dr. William Cranshaw.  We went through all the new Social Studies standards for the 7th grade (6th grade teachers were in a different room to learn their standards).  The best part of the information was the "Teacher Notes" section.

The Teacher Notes have been provided to assist teacher in understanding, interpreting, and generally having a clue what some of the generally stated standards mean, and what the standard-writers were thinking when they wrote them.  Further (and even more important) what the new test-writers will be using to construct our state's CRCT (Criterion Referenced Competency Test) high-stakes test -- which saw 70%-80% of our state's students fail last year.

The meeting was tedious, just as Dr. Cranshaw prepared us for.  But it was necessary.  I believe he said his staff would be delivering around 22 of these one-day sessions around the state.  Wow.  I guess I can't complain that they don't care about Social Studies and the results of the tests.

This year the test is actually a field-test of the questions to determine validity and reliability.  We'll see how that goes.  I still am very opposed to this kind of testing as a measure of student understanding, and therefore value in a educational setting.  But, I can wish all I want, this lazy, inaccurate, expensive system of assessment is a part of the game we play when we sign on to teach in the advanced age of the 21st century.  [Excuse me while I pick up the dripping sarcasm].

Still, the day was productive and beneficial.  It was worth my time.  I just hope my classroom's not a total mess when I get there tomorrow morning.

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