Why did I even check my e-mail???!!!!

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Bella2010, Dec 25, 2014.

  1. Bella2010

    Bella2010 Habitué

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    Dec 25, 2014

    Because I'm an idiot. That's why. Our district contracts with an outside testing company that manufactures sample tests that are supposed to be like the state tests. They are given in Sept, December, and then again in March. We took ours the week before Christmas break. The results are in. My scores are the lowest out of all three classes. :( They are broken down by skills taught. I get it if my kids didn't do great on what I haven't taught yet, but things I taught just couple of weeks ago???? Really????? They've been doing well on their weekly benchmarks, so I have that documentation if admin comes down on me for this.

    I'm struggling to not let this really stress me out over the break, but I'm just plain ****** off and bummed. I feel like I work really hard. It sucks when I feel like my best isn't good enough. I had a couple of kids who left about 1/4 of the questions blank. :mad:

    When I taught 5th my score were comparable with the other teachers on my grade level. This third grade business (don't pass the test, don't go to 4th) is a horse of a different color.

    Ugh. I'm done.
     
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  3. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    The week before Christmas break is not the best time for a test. I'm sure the kids had other things on their minds. I would reassess the skills you feel they should have known in January, before getting too upset about it.

    Hang in there. It's always difficult to switch grade levels. Unless each of the three classes are equally mixed in regards to skill level, there's not much use comparing. My grade has a GT class, where all students are GT identified, as well as a co-taught class, which has all the co-taught IEP students. Obviously, those two classes cannot be compared. We have two classes that are equal in skill level, and those two are compared, (one of which is mine), so I do understand the comparing mindset.
     
  4. LouiseB

    LouiseB Cohort

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    Dec 25, 2014

    Try to let it go over your break. You can't really do much now anyway. However I realize it is easier said than done!
     
  5. Bella2010

    Bella2010 Habitué

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    That's the biggest issue I have with this whole thing. They are. :(

    On paper, they did better BEFORE the skill was taught. The one they take in September is supposed to see where they are on all 3rd grade skills, and the one we took last week is supposed to compare how much they've gained since September. My kids have gotten worse % wise on almost all the skills I have taught. Think this might be a paper mix up or something? I mean, I'm not the best teacher in the world, but I don't think I'm so horrible that they would have regressed. Maybe some kids got off on the bubbles? I know, I'm grasping at straws. This just doesn't make sense. :(

    I am pretty sure I'm going to get called in for a talk about this after the break. :( And if I do I'll probably start bawling because that's what I'm doing right now.
     
  6. Bella2010

    Bella2010 Habitué

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    Okay, they (testing company) had to have messed up somewhere.

    They have comparative reports for the test the kids took in September and the one they took last week. On one report, the one for last week's, it has my kids scoring an average of 82% on skill 1.1. On the comparative report, it has an average of 66% for the same skill. :dizzy:
     
  7. Bella2010

    Bella2010 Habitué

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    Okay, scratch the above post. On one report there is an overall percentage of a certain skill, and on the other report they give the percentage of students who are proficient in a specific skill. I don't like that one, BTW. I had three kids, all low, move on from the first one. They brought the average down. Oh, well. It is what it is. I'm just going to focus on the green check marks (kids who passed a skill) and not get too wrapped up in the red Xs.
     
  8. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    Dec 27, 2014

    The idea of a baseline sucks sometimes. Some kids are lucky guessers. It drives me up a wall! This happened on our math benchmarks for me. I have kids who scored right alongside their peers on the baseline. But I had these kids last year and I knew darn well those grades for some of the students had absolutely nothing to do with their ability. They just got lucky. Now guess what, some of those kids dropped 10-15% percent since the baseline. It has nothing to do with my teaching- if you look at their actual test booklets you see in Sept. they were blindly circling answers and now even though they did worse they were actually working the problems out, and they have learned something. But does that show on paper? No. It's so frustrating. I know how you feel. It stinks! I would definitely spend some time on test taking skills because it sounds like that might help some of your kids, but try not to stress it now. Enjoy your time off.
     
  9. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Dec 27, 2014

    I have kiddos that are able to score abnormally well on pretests just by eliminating answers. I've pretty much just stopped giving any pretest unless it is a "give it or you get written up" type of test. Within the first day or two of a unit, it becomes readily apparent who the kiddos that need advanced work are.
     
  10. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    Dec 28, 2014

    Unfortunately we have to give all these tests. I've never been really questioned about specific students cause I'm assuming when my AP looks at the data he understands what happened because he knows the kids. It's still all around frustrating though.
     
  11. Bella2010

    Bella2010 Habitué

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    This is what frustrates me the most. In the weekly benchmarks, my class has a passing average of about 85% for each skill I've taught so far. But then it looks like only a few have made gains since the beginning of the year, before the skill was taught?? Doesn't make sense. I tried to focus on the kids who moved up from U to LK and from LK to P. I've had two kids who moved in and weren't tested on the baseline who both scored U, so that even brings down the amount of kids who moved up a level, or so it looks.

    We have to give them too, no exceptions. I'm really nervous I'm going to get called into the P about this. I don't really know what to tell her except that I have no idea what happened. Like I said in a PP, I have the weekly benchmarks to show they have made gains in case I need them. This situation sucks in general, but it especially sucks since this is my first year in this district. :( :unsure:
     
  12. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    Dec 29, 2014

    I would be honest then if the P asks, and say you aren't sure what happened. I wouldn't make excuses about it being the time of year (although I do agree with you and others that was definitely a factor.) I would maybe say something along the lines that you feel they understand the material but maybe they need more work on test taking skills and that's what you're going to focus on next.
     
  13. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Dec 29, 2014

    Look carefully at the scores that make up the class average. Look at the scatter. Do just a few really high scores pull up the average of many lower scores? Averages don't always show the real picture of what is going on.
     
  14. Bella2010

    Bella2010 Habitué

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    I have 22 kids, and of those 19 consistently pass the weekly benchmarks. The bottoms three are pulled out for Title One remediation twice a week.
     
  15. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Dec 29, 2014

    I do want to say I'm sorry this had to come out over winter break. Not something you should have to deal with while on break.

    I'm not sure how to respond to this because it doesn't really address my comment unless there is something about passing your benchmarks that I don't know such as 100% accuracy is the only score that shows passing. That is not the case in our district.

    You said the average is 85%. Are all kids getting 100% and 3 being pulled getting zeros? That would place it at about 85%.

    What is your procedure immediately proceeding your benchmark tests that give an 85% average? Are you reviewing immediately before the students take the benchmark? That can skew scores higher. Then when they are faced with the material later that has more topics and have not been reviewed immediately before, what they can recall without immediate review is different.
     
  16. Bella2010

    Bella2010 Habitué

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    Sorry, I left some info out of that post. We have a running average of weekly benchmarks passed. So, most of the time I have the 19 pass and the three fail. However, if the class doesn't do so great on one (comparing fractions, for instance) it drags it down. But then if they all pass the next one, which happens every once in a while, my average improves. Our benchmarks are four question multiple choice. Anything below a 75 is considered failing.

    We intro the skill on Monday and work on it all week. We give the benchmarks on Friday. I don't review before I give it since we worked on it all week.

    I went to school and worked today. While I was there, I printed out the reports and looked at them until I'm cross-eyed, and I'm still at a loss. If you look at the big picture, and compare only the kids tested on the baseline (kick out the new kids who scored a U), things have improved some. Impressive? Not really, but at least it's something. Reading baseline had 5 proficient, 8 limited knowledge, and 7 unsatisfactory. The one we took before break scored 7 P, 11 LK, and 2 U. Math baseline was 1 proficient, 13 limited knowledge, and 4 unsatisfactory. The one we took last week scores 4 proficient, 11 limited knowledge, and 3 unsatisfactory.

    The asst super was there today, too. I thought about talking to her about it, but decided not to, maybe she doesn't want to think too hard about this crap over the break either, lol.
     
  17. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Dec 30, 2014

    It looks like there was progress, but not as much as you would like. With your care and persistence I expect you may find ways to compare what you do in class compared to the other teachers and find some tips to help fill in a gap in your teaching, if there is any. :)
     
  18. Bella2010

    Bella2010 Habitué

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    I have got to put this behind me. I cannot be this stressed out the rest of the year. I'm most definitely talking to my P.

    Something else that makes me shake my head is that my kids have consistently done better on their weekly benchmarks than the teacher who jumped from a 58% to a 75%. On the baseline, she didn't have any kids score advanced, but she had 5 on this last one.

    Then my mind starts running and I start getting stressed out about if my job is on the line if my kids don't perform well. :unsure:

    And I am at a loss as to how to make some of these kids give a crap! I had some kids who only got 11 questions right out of 50. Seriously????

    And...I feel like I'm going to disappoint my P. She thinks I've got everything together. She has thanked me for holding the third grade team together, her words, despite the drama with teacher #2 and #3. But then I only go from a 58% to a 61%????
     
  19. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    IMO, this is a huge issue. How do we help students care about the things they do. Care that leanring HOW to learn, benefits them in everything in life, from video games to sports to pure academics..etc.
     
  20. Bella2010

    Bella2010 Habitué

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    I'd really like to tell them that if they don't pass, they don't promote to 4th grade, which is true. I mean, there's the good exception clause, but in blanket terms you don't pass, you don't promote. The kid I mentioned who got 11 out of 50 is sharp, and there was absolutely no reason for that. I have kids who consistently win the monthly reading challenge, which consists of all three third grades and is based on how many points kids earned during the month, who scored unsatisfactory????!!!!!
     
  21. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Dec 30, 2014

    Is this the first year your students are taking the standardized test? When I taught 3rd grade last year I had some really high students do poorly on the tests because of all the hype and stress surrounding the tests. All year long they heard from older students, parents, other teachers and school staff about how critical these tests were and it just freaked some of my students out.
     
  22. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Yeah, it can be frustrating, and I think this happens to every teacher from time to time.

    How do your weekly quizzes compare to the benchmark test? Are they similar in format, difficulty, rigor?...etc?

    How does your weekly quizzes and benchmark tests compare to what you are doing daily in class for learning activities?
     
  23. Bella2010

    Bella2010 Habitué

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    Yes, this is their first year. And I don't want to stress them out, but like I said I just don't think some of them are taking this seriously enough.

     
  24. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    I haven't really followed this whole thread, so if I may be off in what I am saying/thinking. You said students are doing well on your weekly quizzes, are these designed by the company that made the tests or are the quizzes designed by you?

    If the weekly quizzes are designed by you, how do they compare in difficulty, format, ..etc?
     
  25. Bella2010

    Bella2010 Habitué

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    Yes, they are designed by the testing company. So, I assume they're comparable. We really don't have the chance to look at the tests the kids take since it's supposed to be a mock state testing situation - bubble sheets, turning the booklets in when finished, etc.
     
  26. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    There's probably at least some level of test burnout going on, and a more-than-fair level of not giving a crap. I think it's only natural that some kids are going to stop trying when they are subjected to that much testing.
     
  27. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    So as teachers you had to sign off that you are not allowed to "talk about or look at" the benchmark test?

    I ask, because I would want to make sure that classroom activities would be at the top as far as rigor is concerned, that this is where the deeper thinking and problem solving is taking place, and then bridge to different formats. I personally, would want the weekly quizzes to mimic the "standardized" test as much as possible.
     
  28. Bella2010

    Bella2010 Habitué

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    Yeah, sometimes I think the two weekly benchmarks do more harm than good.

    We can see the weekly benchmarks. We give a 50 question test in Sept to see where the kids are at level wise coming in, one in December to see where they're at, another one in March, then the actual state test is in April. The three "big" tests are the ones we don't see. However, since the same company produces the weekly benchmarks, I'm assuming they're comparable in everything.
     
  29. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    As far as I'm concerned, any test I can't review myself I consider to be meaningless for pedagogical purposes. If you can't view the questions, and view answers, etc., how can you be reasonably be expected to figure out what the misconceptions are from the test? I mean... if Student A answers 256 - 167 as 111, and Student B answers 199, they both need to review the concept, but they need different levels of review, etc.
     
  30. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Agreed. You can assume they are comparable, they could be completely different.

    With your example though grade3, if it matches the weekly quizzes, then you would use the weekly quizzes.

    Edit: but not knowing if it is 256-167 in just numbers, single or multi step word problem, estimation, number sense, or short answer is a bigger issue for me.
     
  31. Bella2010

    Bella2010 Habitué

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    I would really like to have a copy of the test because we get a print out saying how many kids answered each answer option on each question, like how many kids answered A, B, C, or D on each question.
     
  32. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Well sure, but if a student got a 100% on the subtraction test back at the end of September, but then missed a subtraction question on this test... was it a careless mistake? A regrouping mistake? A concept mistake? Was it misunderstanding what the question was asking? etc
     
  33. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    I agree, my point is that you would see these on the multiple weekly quizzes given since September.
     

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