Was this the right thing to do?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by lucybelle, Jun 29, 2012.

  1. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    Jun 29, 2012

    Just gave my 4th graders their exam and not a single person got an A. The highest grade was an 89/100. I know I went over all the information and they had all the notes and specific things to study in their notebooks. This test is the lowest test grade any of them have gotten. I think the low grades might be accounted for because today is the last day before winter break. But of course, it might have also been me. So I curved all grades by 11 points (to bring the highest grade to a 100). After I added the 11 points to each test, each kid made just about their normal test scores.

    Was curving the test a good thing to do?

    Also, one kid always takes a really long time to finish. She's allowed extra time. Time allowed for the test is 80 min and she had about 180 min to finish. By the end of the time, I told her she had to turn in her test, time was up. She started crying and asking for more time. I told her "no". I graded the test and she only had half of it done. I just felt like she wasn't using her time. The extra time she was in my room she was just sitting there. I would remind her she needed to finish, needed to focus, asked if she had any questions, etc. But in the end, she had only done half of the test.

    Was grading this test half finished the right thing to do?
     
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  3. Pisces_Fish

    Pisces_Fish Fanatic

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    Jun 29, 2012

    Tough call. By grading her half-completed test, you're assessing what she can accomplish in 180 min, not what she actually knows. I'm interested to see what other people have to say.
     
  4. COMrs.S

    COMrs.S Rookie

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    What kind of test was it? Multiple-choice, short answer, a combination of both? You mentioned that she's allowed extra time. Is this because of an IEP or ILP, or other reading issue? I don't know if this will help, but when I give science tests to my lower readers I read the test to them. I don't help with anything else. Usually, this seems to help those students who either can't read the material or just need help keeping focused. Can you try this with her?
     
  5. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    I'm not sure if this is applicable or not, but the first exam she completed in the 80 min. The second exam she finished in about 120 min. And this one she only had half done after 180 min. All test were about the same length and types of questions (mostly multiple choice, some short answer, one long answer). Her best score on her test was the first one she finished in 80 min. It's almost like now she expects all this extra time and isn't using it wisely.
     
  6. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    @COMs.S - We don't have IEPs or ILPs here. But we do discuss what we should do for each student, it's just not recorded in anyway. I read all questions to her that she wants me to. By the end she was just asking for help. Like "teacher, help me with this one" or "Teacher is this the right answer?" I told her I couldn't tell her because that would be cheating! She got all frustrated.
     
  7. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jun 29, 2012

    3 hours is A LOT of extra time...especially if she was just sitting there the whole time...
    Any chance you could scrap this test and review/retest after the break? Or adjust your grading so the lowest test score is dropped before averaging?
     
  8. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Jun 29, 2012

    You read my mind, czacza! :D
     
  9. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Jun 29, 2012

    If all of the test were the same you would have seen similar results among all of the students. You did not have this which means this test was possibly harder either because of material itself being more complex, something different about the instruction leading up to winter break (hard to say that when it is 100+ degrees here), or the frenzy of no more school for a bit. I wouldn't jump to the conclusion that she is wasting time. She could be stumped by the material and sitting trying to think of the right answer. She doesn't really know what to put and didn't want to give up and just hand the test in. Also sometimes kids get stuck and still don't have the capacity to move past where they are stuck (adults do this too). Maybe giving an alloted time for each question might help. If after 5 minutes you can't think of anything, move on and go back to it later. Also, after a certain point, functioning at a high level is near impossible. 3 hours is a bit extreme to sit there just taking a test.

    As for the other kids, instead of just curving, analyze the test answers. Were most missing the same information or was it completely scattered. Did they take longer to complete the test? Could the test have been harder or more obscure than previous ones? Until you analyze the test to determine if there was common mistakes either by most getting the same question wrong or most not answering fully on many questions thus getting only partial credit, then I don't think curving or scrapping is the way to go. Try to figure out, what made this test an outlier for all including the girl that took forever and just couldn't finish.
     
  10. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    Jun 29, 2012

    I appreciate the feedback! Definitely good stuff to think about. I want to address what I highlighted.

    First- about getting stuck. We go over my 5 "Test taking tips" before every exam and one of them is "don't get stuck, circle and move on". During the test, when I realized she had been on the same page for 20 or 30 min and hadn't answered a single question, I went up and told her "remember, don't get stuck" and instructed her to try a new question.

    Second- while grading I did notice the same questions being answered wrong. Although I did go through the information, I didn't spend as much time on it as I did other information. I'm still learning how to teach the younger kids and one of the things I'm working on is going slower. I must have rushed through certain information too quickly for them. I wish I had more time to analyze, but all tests had to be graded and turned in today. I had to give 3 exams today so I spent a lot of time grading and rushing to get the exams in.

    And to other posters- I like the idea of retesting the girl after break. Maybe I'll make up an abridged version of the test and give her one class period to finish it. I can maybe average the two grades like 75% new test and 25% old test. Does that sound okay? I don't think the entire first test should be scraped, it should count somehow.

    We're not allowed to drop exam grades. Kids have 2 exams per semester and they're each worth a percentage of their final trimester grade.

    Thanks as always!!
     
  11. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    Jun 29, 2012

    Wow, I am suprised they had to take a test that would take that long. Seems like a long time for one test. As for curving the grades, I have done that in the past when I deemed it appropriate. If it seemed necessary, then its fine. If you only did it because the scores were lower then maybe it wasn't the best choice. I think it depends on the reasoning. In the end, it is your class and you need to be comfortable with the choices you are making and the reasoning for them. If you are, then its okay. If not, well just try to do better next time so you will be comfortable. We have all probably made decisions we would like to change later on. That is part of the learning process.
     
  12. Aussiegirl

    Aussiegirl Habitué

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    Jun 29, 2012

    Per your info above in the quote, what time frame did you have in which to give the exams? If you could have given it a little sooner, perhaps you would have had the time to analyze and score per result of that analysis.

    I have had a few tests over the years where a certain question or two was commonly missed. I checked that the answer I had was correct and then went back, added the points for that question back to the total, and gave extra credit to those students who got it correct.

    As for the child who takes so long, perhaps she could have been given the test in chunks - finish this and then get the next chunk. If possible, perhaps the test can be broken down so she takes two sessions to complete it or, as someone suggested, see if you can get an aide or qualified volunteer to read the test to her. Perhaps the librarian (if you have one) can help with this. Another option is to give a modified version of the test others are taking. Perhaps fewer questions per concept, all multiple choice, or an answer bank for the fill in the answer questions. I often do this for my students who are intellectually challenged or have reading difficulties. If she doesn't know the material, she will still not score well even with the aids in place.
     
  13. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    Great suggestions!

    Unfortunately, we have a very set exam schedule. So I had to give them their exam on the exact day and time that was assigned.
     
  14. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Jun 29, 2012

    If you noticed similar questions wrong, I would definitely reteach these concepts. Use your warm up time to work on these skills or take a little time to reteach. Then you could reassess to see if they now understand. Maybe giving a shortened retest to everyone to demonstrate mastery...
     
  15. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Jun 29, 2012

    OP, I never once thought you didn't review test taking tips or encourage her to move on and go back. With some kids though, they can recite what should be done but can't apply it when it comes time to do so. That isn't always willfulness or taking advantage. As I said, even adults get stuck on things and can't budge off of the idea or the task. They know to move on and come back to it, but many will still keep beating the dead horse. Won't say anymore so I don't continue to beat that dead horse! :whistle:

    Others gave great suggetions for testing her, but if your hands are tied as to when she must take her exam, what you can do may be limited. Your only option may be do have her get up, stretch for a second, take a deep breath and move on to the next one under your guidance. She may just need more supervised practice in doing so until she starts to do it on her own. Most skills are learned that way, but for many it only takes a few iterations. For others, it takes many more than you might think is appropriate.
     

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