And more of that.
City education officials said teachers were told to write a key code on the blackboard showing students to use the A, B, C and D bubbles on the answer sheet as if they were labeled F, G, H and J, and vice versa for those five questions. They said that because those instructions were given before the start of the test, students were not given additional time.Not true. My principal did not check her email until 10 minutes after the exam had started - she was busy helping get the tests distributed and meeting with the parent of a student who is being suspended - so my AP had to run down the hall to notify the 7th grade teachers of the problem.
Mr. Dunn said that while the exam booklet had been prepared by CTB/McGraw Hill, the test publisher, answer sheets are devised regionally.
He said that city officials had submitted the flawed answer sheet to the state for approval and that officials had not caught the error. "It's a mistake that got past both of us," he said.
Imagine if we let kids make excuses like this for their wrong answers?
In any case, the test will not be invalidated, though they are going to analyze answer patterns to check for problems with those questions. I don't really want the test invalidated, as that would just mean that we'd have to give it again or something equally irritating, but I do hope that the city comes up with some plan to deal with students who fail the test by just one or two questions. Maybe they could relax the appeal process for kids who are going to be held over but were within a certain margin in which those problematic questions could have made a difference. Screening answer patterns on a wide-scale can tell you that MOST kids had no problem adjusting to the problem, but that doesn't mean that NO kids had problems, and, as I said yesterday, this test has real implications for the seventh graders.
Weird test-administration detail of the day: Okay, this is a little hard to explain, but picture this: You get a stack of answer sheets for your class. They are clearly labeled "Sixth Grade" and the kids' names and grade levels and ATS codes are printed on them. But you still have to fill in a little bubble that says "6th" for grade level (to make it easier, there are no other choices). Huh?! The only explanation I can think of is that they were worried that with so many different tests being given simultaneously (the 6th, 7th, and 8th grade tests were all slightly different in time limits and format) that answer sheets might be given to the wrong grade accidently, and requiring teachers to bubble in the grade level would be one final check for this problem.
So this is what it's like to be a teacher: Proctoring exams has got to be the most god-awfully boring way to spend the day. I recommend a FULL night's sleep before the exams, so you don't drift off on your feet. But being a hall monitor is even worse... Please, please let me teach something to someone, someday soon; I am bored out of my mind and I have some really good stuff on simple machines planned...