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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Once upon a time but not so far away -

Once upon a time in a data driven school system not that far away, teachers were told that there would be less standardized testing during their current school year.  Teachers throughout the land cheered.  Then one day at a gathering of educators, these teachers were told that a new test MUST be given...it's called a Quarterly Assessment...nothing like the plethora of other assessments that are given each quarter.  No! This is important!  This is new!! Inquiring minds wanted to know what areas MUST be assessed. Well, reading and math, of course, that is a given.  On the other hand, maybe Science and Social Studies as well. Teachers throughout the land had many questions. Unfortunately, those running the kingdom didn't have many answers. After three weeks of searching the World Wide Websites where the school system posted information, and after special meetings throughout the kingdom where those in charge had the opportunity to make things clear, this is what was learned...

  • The tests are optional.
  • No, the tests are mandatory.
  • The tests in reading and math are mandatory, but Science and Social Studies are optional.
  • The tests for students in grades three and up are mandatory.
  • The tests in the primary grades are optional.
  • Teachers must use the tests created by the Board of Education. Don't have the materials?  Each school must purchase them. Many monies were spent.
  • Okay, you don't have to use the test created by the Board, teachers can create their own, but they must be sanctioned by the school administrators who will have to square it with those in charge above them.
  • This is getting complicated, okay just give one of the tests and grade them.  Use your own, use the Boards...just give the tests.
    • When is the deadline?  Well, they are Quarterly Tests and the first quarter already ended, so "soon". The tests should be given soon. 
  • Who grades the tests?  Well, the teachers!!!! 
    • What do the teachers do with the data?   We don't know!
    • Does the score count toward a report card grade?  No, we don't think so.
    • Do the teachers have to input the data on the computer since it's a Board of Education exam?  No, we don't think so.
    • How is the data actually going to be used?  Well, we don't know yet.

The sky above the schools were growing darker with confusion each day, Teachers' heads were exploding all over the kingdom wondering how they would be evaluated if they used the same criteria that those in charge did to actually teach and grade their students.



After three weeks, the stars aligned and all was right again (at least for a moment) when  through the miracle of technology and bits and bytes, teachers received a message...it wasn't shouted from the rooftops like it should have been, but the whispers were still heard throughout the land.  

The message-
No teacher will be sanctioned for not giving a test that is now deemed by CPS itself to be superfluous.


Unfortunately, the stars soon shifted again and the joy was short-lived. The kingdom went back to a land where down is up and up is down when the following message was sent through cyberspace:

CPS has confirmed that CCSS-aligned exams will be mandated in Quarters 2 and 3.


And the data driven kingdom just made another U-Turn!

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