Friday, May 23, 2008
Here in Washington, the state mandated test is called the WASL. It is administered over math, science, writing, and reading. Most states also test social studies, but Washington has postponed that particular test indefinitely, which is fine with me. In place of the WASL, however, we have to do something called a CBA - classroom based assessment - which is a fancy name for a research paper. It is complicated, and kind of a pain, but we did it. There are several options for topics, but we chose to do one on technology. We (my co-teacher and I) did all the research (meaning we looked up books and copied pertinent chapters), created some guides to help the kids along, created a grading matrix, calendar, etc, and spent several days going over things in class. In addition, we deliberately designed it so the kids would be able to totally complete the project in class, if they used their time wisely and didn't dink around. It was due the day before Spring Break, with the option to turn in a better version after Spring Break if they wanted to. Shockingly, most did not. =) Even with the grading matrix, which is working really well, I just have not been motivated to grade them, but I have a long weekend, school is almost over, and I just need to get them done, so I have been working on them today. Unfortunately, I have run into a snag on one paper. This paper was not supposed to be an informational paper. The kids were to take a specific technological development (cars, penicillin, printing press, atomic bomb, or radio) and explain why it was significant (using three examples), how it required an investment in human capital (using 2 examples), and connect it somehow to the book Animal Farm (because we were doing this in connection with the kids' language arts classes). One of my kids that has given me a lot of trouble this year (very immature and borderline sexually harassing many girls at school) turned in his paper (late) claiming that he better get 100% because his uncle, who supposedly has a degree from Harvard, had helped him write it (What ??????). So when I was grading his paper, he did not follow one single direction. It was an informational paper, that he used his own sources for (the kids were specifically forbidden to do that, that's why we worked on getting everything ready ahead of time), did not answer even one of the quetions, and was missing most of the pertinent information. This frustrates me so incredibly much. I know this kid is going to throw a fit, and judging from some past comments he's made, claim that I am racist, and I just don't want to deal with it. I know what to do, and I have already made preparations to deal with it, but I am just venting and stating that I don't WANT to deal with that crap. Just follow the directions! How stinking hard can it possibly be to do that? And what is the worst thing is that his uncle, a well (and expensively) educated adult, is the one who didn't follow them, and by taking over the project for KB, royally screwed him over. ARGH.