Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Sitting quietly while my students take their GLAD test gives me too much time to sit and think, looking at them, trying to do their best as they click buttons on the computers, pressing keys on calculators, scribbling on scrap paper, and looking nervously at the clock.

Some students are trying their very hardest; others will simply click through the questions, choosing random answers in order to finish as quickly as possible. Some of the ones who try the hardest will do the worst. They either do not have the skills to be successful, or have missed so much school this year, or in the past, there are gaps in their achievement. Of the ones clicking quickly, a fair number will be successful, scoring in the top tier among their peers, out of luck occasionally, but more often, due to their natural mathematical abilities.

I wish I could somehow cloak them with a superhero type cape, giving them all my own mathematical knowledge, protecting them from making careless errors. I want to know what they really do KNOW, what they really can DO, what they really have learned from our time together.

Of course, right now, even as a type my blog, the questions are coming. JG who wants me to help him with every question, despite me repeatedly telling him he must do this on his own. MN who did not bother to make sure he had power for his laptop before begining the test, despite my reminder to do that. He keeps hopping from power cord to power cord, with no success, because the group ahead of him did not make sure the connections were complete. And, now SL is done, and feels the need to tell the girl across from him, who is still taking her test, that she has something on her nose.

I wish the powers that be could be here today, watching, and seeing the true validity, or lack thereof, in these tests.....

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