I finally finished writing my students' test for tomorrow. Some teachers write the tests at the beginning of the unit, but I usually wait so that I make sure it fits the reality of what I actually taught, not just what I hoped or planned I would teach. I started writing this test last night, got too tired and gave up. All day I've been putting off working on it... for some reason, I just couldn't get going on it. I'm second-guessing the things I want the students to know. I definitely want them to know about metamorphosis in amphibians, and all the various adaptations of reptiles to life on dry land. But is it important for them to know which types of animals have single-loop circulatory systems versus double-loop circulatory systems? It doesn't FEEL that important... maybe it's enough to know that there is variation in the type of circulatory system? Eventually they will learn about the efficiency advantages of a double-loop system - but since they only have a sketchy idea of the function of the circulatory system right now, I didn't go into why a double-loop system is more efficient. Whatever. It's done. It probably isn't too hard but it's harder than the last test, which was ridiculously easy.
I was talking to some students today and said, "When everyone gets a 3+ (that's like an A- in more traditional grading systems) that means the test was too easy."
One of the kids said with a huge flattery-will-get-you-anywhere grin, "No, no, Ms. Frizzle, it means you're a great teacher!"
That was our brief version of the debate over grade inflation.