Wednesday, January 18, 2006

And more of that.

The NY Times reports on the error on the city's 7th grade test answer sheets. The problem was limited to New York City, which makes my principal's comment about "if this happened in a more affluent area..." make more sense.
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...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you seen articles that espouse to standards like the one below? If so, please direct me to the appropriate website. Thanks

forskolin adhd
forskolin adhd

Children with ADHD

There is a perplexing state of affairs in today's society, there lies a strong correlation between the affluence of a society and the amount of disease that is present. There is also another correlation that troubles many a people and that is with affluence comes disease at an Earlier age.

Working with children and the parents of these children I often get asked the question, 'Why are Children with ADHD on the increase?'

The answer as you shall find is one that is both interesting and challenging.

Children of today are really no more different from the children of yesterday in terms of genetic makeup. However, if you examine the issue more closely you will tend to find that many children today have been given labels. For example, 'Oh, those are children with ADHD' or 'Those are the children who can't sit still.' Or 'That is the kid that always gets into trouble.'

These labels are not only destructive but also become a self fulfilling prophecy as it is repeated adnauseum.

So as a 21st century parent or a parent with a child with ADHD or a parent with children with ADHD, what knowledge framework do you need to equip yourself with to ensure your children live out their true potential?

Here is a quick reference list for thinking about ADHD
� ADHD is a source of great frustration because it is misunderstood
� ADHD medications are a great short term time buying device and should be avoided long term
� The above point goes for any sort of drug consumption. Think about it for a minute. Unless you have a biochemical deficiency in your body like Type 1 diabetes where your body fails to produce enough insulin or any at all, why would you take an external drug? A body that is in balance is totally healthy. It is only when the body is out of balance that dis-ease symptoms start to creep up.
� ADHD is a biochemical imbalance of the mind and body.
� The Head of Psychiatry in Harvard states that drugs for ADHD simply mask the effects of ADHD. It does not cure ADHD. This is an important point because a cure implies never to have to take the medication. This means that once you start on medication you will have to be on it for the rest of your life i.e. you have medically acquired a dependency for a biochemical imbalance. That is like stuffing all your rubbish (problematic behaviors) into a closet (medication) where no one can see it. But if you continue to stuff more rubbish into that closet, one day you will not have enough space and need to do one of two things. You either empty the rubbish (the natural conclusion) or you get a bigger closet (i.e. change to stronger medication to control the symptoms). The choice is obvious but sometimes when you don't have the necessary tools to deal with ADHD you tend to think the bigger closet is the only option.
� ADHD children are super sensitive to the emotions around them. Often they pick up emotional cues from their parents without realizing. Many parents come home frustrated or annoyed from work, the child with ADHD picks this up and starts to 'cause trouble' by becoming restless. Parents frustration increase because they just want some peace and quiet. They get angry which in turn is picked up by the child who then intensifies their activity. Things get way out of hand and some sort of punishment is handed down to the child who has no idea what just happened. The cycle repeats itself every so often.
� Our brains are wired emotionally. Positive praise is interpreted as an analytical/thinking exercise. Negative criticism including scolding, name calling, physical punishment all go directly to the emotional brain of children with ADHD. This means in order to ensure you get your message across in the most optimal way, you need to learn how to communicate with your ADHD children the way they like to be communicated with.
� Every negative comment requires 16 positive comments to neutralize the emotion. Save yourself the frustration and agitation by practicing positive communication.

The list is by no means complete. In dealing with children with ADHD there are a certain set of behavioural principles to follow. I will detail these steps in the coming weeks. I'll also build on the list as you continue to learn about what appears to be a mystical disorder known as 'Children with ADHD'

9:40 PM  

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