Tuesday, September 2, 2014

College & Career Ready?

As part of our RTI (Response to Intervention) plan, we have a 30 minute college & career readiness class.  However, it is really just a test prep class.

The freshmen work on improving their reading skills for the PLAN test that they will take in the fall of their sophomore year.   The sophomores prepare for the PLAN until the actual test in September and then they shift over to ACT prep.   The juniors prep for the ACT until the test date in March and they shift to EOC (End of Course) exam preparation because all juniors are required to take the U.S. History EOC.

The seniors...well, my poor seniors are a whole other thing.  The seniors must be "college &/or career ready".  Meaning they must have met arbitrary benchmarks on either the ACT, the COMPASS or Work Keys.  (Incidentally, all of these tests are ACT products.)  In recent weeks, even more testing acronyms have flooded my email inbox. 
 If the kiddos meet the ACT benchmark during their junior year, then they are placed in a study hall for their senior year.  If they do not meet the state established benchmarks for ACT reading, English and math, then they are placed--by score--in groups to prepare them for the COMPASS or the Work Keys.

It's stressful and frustrating for students and teachers alike...but we're in a box. A not so lovely accountability and assessment box thrust upon us by so-called education reformers.

If only I could make these politicians and their ilk take all the tests that they thrust upon my students...

Dear Infinite Campus,

Dear Infinite Campus,
I hate you.
I hate your issues with Java, which often result in a failure to load.
I hate when you log me out for "being inactive" while I'm entering grades. (That's clearly being active, IC; what is up with that?)
I hate when you time out while posting attendance, which results in a phone call from the attendance secretary.
I hate when opening my gradebook inexplicably causes  Firefox to crash.
I hate when entire columns of grades simply vanish into cyberspace.
I hate that an entity that should simplify at least one aspect of my job frequently complicates my life instead.
I beg of you, IC, get your act together!
A frustrated teacher who has been trying to update grades for four hours.