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October 20, 2003

Benchmarking Today

This week is set aside for benchmarking our students. The state has mandated a two-week window in which to test student progress toward TAKS--Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills--standards.

The problem is, it takes two class periods--a total of four days--of possible instruction time to give this test. A whole week's worth of learning goes down the drain because we're testing to find out if they know what we should be teaching them anyway. To add fuel to the fire, other areas must do their testing at this time, too, which exhausts the kids and shuts 'em down quickly.

Now, a week may not sound like a lot. But add that to the pile of other reasons the instructional day gets cut or omitted, like athletics, the real TEKS test, UIL contests, and you end up with considerably less days than the already too brief 88 or so class days for the year (177 class days on an A-B schedule).

What truly irks me is that when schools, students, and teachers are judged by a simple two-digit percentage from the state indicating how many students passed how many objectives, there's no footnote to explain the obscene amount of peripheral distractions that must be overcome to get even the most miserable number of kids passing.

Posted by tat at October 20, 2003 09:56 AM