Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Teaching to the test.


Stressed-out seventh-graders taking a standardized exam to determine whether they'll be promoted got an unusual English lesson yesterday: A means F, B means G, C means H, and D means J.

The lecture was repeated by teachers for about 72,000 pencil-gnawing city students who sat for the state English Language Arts test — and were given answer sheets rife with errors.

For five of the exam's 26 multiple-choice questions with answer options of A, B, C and D, the bubble sheet for recording answers offered students choices of F, G, H and J.

The mistake was magnified by the fact that the test for the first time is being used by the city to determine whether a student should be elevated to the eighth grade.

"Kids and teachers have been feeling the pressure of this test for months, and when the time comes, the city can't even get it right," said a teacher at MS 352 in Brooklyn...

Students across the state took the test, but the blunder was confined to the Big Apple [which] devised its own answer sheet ..."
[NY Post]
I don't see what the big deal is. This goes right along with the city's math test instruction for "forth grade" that teaches 10+15=24 and 0=6; and the summer school instruction that can't tell time from a clock face. Why should English tests be treated any better?

After all, it's not like things are a whole lot better with the teachers' own tests.