Tuesday, April 29, 2008

And So It Begins

So, I gave the first kids the CAPA today.

I started with Angel, 'cause oh-my-frelling-God is it hard, and she was my best shot at the "she got it right!" fuzzies.

Don't believe me?  Check out the level 3 and 4 sample tasks, and remember that this test is for kids on a functional skills curriculum.  Our language arts program would be happy if they learned to read fifteen words in a year...and that's the top level of participation -- others are considered successful if they can copy or match a word, or are exposed to it.

And you wonder why I have to supplement it (heavily) with News-2-You and adapted books?  They are being asked to listen to a story and answer, on their own (not even multiple choice) how and why questions.

How.  And.  Why.  Questions.

Now, I am completely, totally on board with providing access to grade level content.  We work out of the grade level social studies texts, for instance, but I supplement those with adapted texts and we do more functional things with the books like number matching (e.g. "open to page 14"), counting ("how many Native Americans are on this page?"), copying/handwriting ("copy the first red word on page 17") and so forth.

Plus, I try to supplement that with some of the books we read, like when we did Little House last year, and ended up talking a lot about westward movement, Native Americans, and so forth.

But...I am left spluttering in incoherent amazement.

Here's hoping with the introduction of the CMA for the kids who get advanced scores too much on the CAPA (Angel, Former 4th Grade Girl A who has moved on to another program, Mama's Boy R, Space Cadet J), they'll adjust CAPA back to what it was supposed to be.

However, the fun part?

I did do half of Bulldozer's test (the language arts portion), and that was an exercise in hilarity.  I spent half the time saying, "Bulldozer, hands down.  Bulldozer, wait.  Bulldozer, wait.  Bulldozer, for the love of all that's good and holy, PLEASE JUST WAIT!"  Okay, I didn't say the last, but I did think it.

(He actually scored very, very well -- but that's to be expected; his strength is by far reading and spelling...math will not go so well.)

But after the first six or seven questions, he was so done.  I kept going, "Bulldozer, hang on, just three more.  Bulldozer, come on...."

And, of course, it got to the point where it was, "Bulldozer, PLEASE hang on just for ONE MORE QUESTION!"

In honor of the post title, a quote (about midway through the page you will find a sound file) that sums up how I feel about the whole thing:  "The avalanche has already started.  It is too late for the pebbles to vote."

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