Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Benchmark Tests

I'm sitting here scratching my head. Today was a good day all told. My twins didn't test my patience, my students (for the most part) did their best work and all went well.

Except I cannot figure out the test. We took our math benchmark. It was suppose to cover double digit addition and subtraction (with regrouping), area, non-standard units of measure, length (when given something to measure with like 1cm blocks), money and paired additive lists.

I spent some time on everything. (Less on Area because I figured (and rightly so) that at this age they're going to draw in the squares and the kids will just have to count it). But I spent the MOST of this six weeks on Addition and Subtraction. When I saw last years test it covered everything, but hit the adding and subtraction the hardest. I was feeling REALLY good about how my students would do, and... then this test came.

Bless their hearts, the students that really focused and read the directions and questions did JUST FINE. I'm the kind of teacher that when things don't go well for my students I tend to blame myself, but some of the mistakes I'm thinking to myself- what else could I have done? One little girl that struggled though Absolutely everything in math this six weeks aced the test. How? Because she PAID ATTENTION to the questions. This was the first time the test was not read aloud to the students and some of them were REALLY hurt by this. Others... I just don't know.

I could have spent more time on things, I really could have. But those kids who had it, they HAD it. And it was a majority that did have it. 1 student failed because he refused to check his answers and actually do the work. (I hate to blame it on him, but when I point at a question and ask him to show his work and he will NOT do it then what room do I have to say otherwise? He knows how to do the math, but if you won't actually do the calculations you're going to fail.) Another is an English Language Learner who probably would have aced the test if it had been read to him. Another is a new student as of two weeks ago. She'd never taken a test like this before. My last student that did not do well was able to explain her work in words when talking to me, but when it came to getting the right answer just didn't follow that same line of reasoning. (I'm not going to go into it for testing confidentiality but...) As for my last student... I have no idea.

I just... don't understand. If the students paid attention to the questions asked, they got it. If they didn't... they didn't. I feel like I should be frustrated because of that 1/4 (basically) of my class that got below a C. But... I don't know. One question I absolutely didn't teach them. Then again, none of my materials that I was teaching from went into that depth so I honestly didn't have any chance of being able to teach that to them. Apparently I'm suppose to have been able to know that anyway... but I didn't. I even asked my teacher what else I should teach on the topic and she gave suggestions that I followed.

How should I feel? Am I allowed to beat myself up about this, or should I just shrug my shoulders, reteach that one thing that I didn't teach before and move on? I mean, I feel like I ought to be able to beat myself up at least a little bit.

I guess I need to plan for tomorrow. I don't know what benchmark they have in the morning (It's either reading, writing, science or social studies). So I'm not sure how long it'll take.

I hate feeling confused. x.x I love my children. They deserve the best education that I can give them, and thank goodness that 3/4 of them did read the questions and pay attention. They exceeded what I expected of them (just because I prepared them for a test they didn't get. I'm glad they did get the content when I taught it and were able to take it another step farther.) I'm really, really, really proud of them altogether. Today could have been crazy (because my teacher was gone) but they really did their best and I cannot be more proud of them.

There, that's the emotion I'll feel. Pride in those kids who put their all into the test.

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