Thursday, March 5, 2009

Finals Week

Since Napoleon is on the trimester schedule, we had final exams yesterday and today. The kids take exams for first through third hours one day and fourth through sixth the next. This year, we had the great and unlooked-for pleasure of re-writing our finals for English to multiple choice tests.
Let me rant a bit on that.
I ask you: How does a student demonstrate that he can talk intelligently about a poem or story with a multiple choice test? How does a student demonstrate that he knows how to write an essay with a multiple choice test? How does a student show his creative talent with a multiple choice test?
I have grave concerns about this, but the state is probably going to issue end-of-year assessments in the near future for high school core classes, and those tests will most likely follow the pattern of other major assessments and be--you guessed it--multiple choice tests.
Don't get me wrong: 60 multiple-choice tests are WAY easier to grade than sixty essays. But what about the kids who CANNOT take a test to save their lives? What about them?
It's been a frustrating week. In the end, despite all my worries and doubts, they did fine. B-ish scores with a few stunning As and a few horrific low Fs. I'm just not sure how to prepare them for such a test, a test that really measures their ability to read and comprehend the main ideas and themes of text and their ability to pick a simile out of four choices. I guess I can teach that last one, but reading...they just need to read more. And probably have me read out loud to them less. Sucky sucky sucky.
Maybe I'm in a bad mood about all this. I'll go drink some more wine. Maybe I'll feel better tomorrow, or better yet--on Monday, when I get to start a new trimester and not have to worry about final exams for another 12 weeks.

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