Sunday, August 24, 2008

Yay for Anonymity

You may have noticed that there are no references here to my last name, the town or school where I teach, other teachers' names (especially last names), kids' names....

Basically, there's no identifying information.  It allows me to share some of my funnier stories, as well as some of my dramas, without fear of compromising my kids' privacy.

And, today, it allows me to make a comment regarding last spring's CAPA testing.

Apparently, most kids in our district did well.  I saw a few of my kids' scores, and they all held even from prior years (which, given how much harder the test got, is a more impressive feat than it sounds like it should be), and a couple of kids improved.  Bulldozer improved from either Below Basic or Far Below Basic to Basic.


CAPA was really, really hard this year.  There were things like addition problems with calculators and manipulatives, identifying two-digit numbers, graphing, and identifying parts of a cube (face, vertex, etc.).

Bulldozer is lucky to count to three.

This is actually an improvement for him, as he came to me counting to two, lost that skill when he stopped having to bring two $1 bills to buy lunch, and regained it slowly and painfully.


I gave him that test.  I gave all the kids' their tests.  I talked to the other teachers who gave the test.

I have concluded that the whole thing was either curved (by state, district, school...who knows) or the threshold levels for each score were lowered from previous years.

(For the record, there is Far Below Basic, Below Basic, Basic, Proficient, and Advanced.  I'm fairly certain No Child Left Behind requires everyone to score proficient or advanced at some point, which means those are technically "passing" scores.)

There's just no other explanation.

I am pleased, on the one hand, and slightly boggled on the other.

However, this does not change the additions I have already added to the kids' journals heavily emphasizing certain skill sets on the CAPA.  I don't believe in teaching to the tests -- the rest of their day will be math, reading, etc., as usual -- but this daily practice should help.

Seriously.  Counts to three and scored Basic on the math section of the CAPA.  I frelling kid you not.

I will be very disappointed if The Boss, who came to me counting to three and ended the year counting to nine, scored anything less than proficient.

Also, very confused.

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