Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Standardized Tests & NCBL

Standardized tests. I have never been a big fan of standardized tests. I was always smart and a good student and near the top of my class. However, I did not do well on standardized tests. I am not a good test taker and even worse standardized test taker. In elementary school, I remember my mom getting my standardized test results and not understanding how I could do so wel in school then only do okay on a standardized test.

I do understand standardized tests are state mandated but personally I just do not care for them.

After watching the videos Dr. Luongo posted for us and talking to a teacher I know(who does special education) I now how even stronger feelings about NCLB Act. How can someone(or the state) expect students to mature at the same exact rate? Does every child learn to walk by age 1? Does every child learn to use the potty at the same age? No. So then why should we expect every student to be at the same milestone at a specific point?

The teacher that I know(who teaches special education) told me how she has had to watch (in the past) her students struggle through the standardized tests because at one point, the teacher could not even read the question to the student. Her students would become so frustrated that it would worsen the situation and negatively effect that students test results more.

Personally, I feel as though standardized tests are not a fair evaluation of students and that the NCLB Act is absurb for thinking that every students mind, body and brain mature at the same rate.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Report Cards

Some people may argue that report cards are an unfair evaluation of students, however I disagree and feel as though report cards are a necessisty.

Personally, I've had good and bad experiences with report cards. All throughout grammar school I could not wait for report cards to be sent home. I knew my mom would be proud of how well I was doing in school and be completely satisfied with meeting my teacher at parent-teacher conferences. However, when I reached middle school my feelings towards report cards changed. In 6th grade I had a language arts teacher who for some reason did not like me(personally). My first report card in 6th grade I got a "C+" in language arts and was completely surprised(not to mention in trouble with my parents). When my mom questioned me about it I simply said "I honestly thought I did better." And so, ofcourse my mothers response was, "well where is all your tests? If you have those then we can see how well you did." Being a 6th, I did not have all my test(at least anywhere I knew of). And so my mother had to meet with my teacher and my teacher did not tell my mother the truth saying I didn't participate, do homework, well on tests and what not.(Something nothing like me).

When my parents got home I was grounded. (For the first time). The next marking period was the worst and longest marking period ever. Buttttt, I did keep all my homeworks, tests and assignments. Next report card, another "C+" My mother again questions me, and I simply said "I know I did better." She asks me for my tests and classwork, I give it to her, and she figures my grade to be a whole grade higher, a B+!! So she talks to my father on how to address the situation. Finally, they had a meeting with the principal and teacher. The teacher could not explain why my grade was dropped a whole grade(being thats a lot to drop just for partcipation and such). Anyway, the outcome- my grade was changed to the grade I deserved, a B+.

However, that experience made me have a sour taste about report cards. How can a teacher be so unfair? Although I did have this "bad" experience with report cards and a teacher I still believe report cards are necessary. I believe report cards can help motivate students because I know when I was in grammar school and if I got a B, I always wanted to do better to get an A next time. I understand every student is different and that some may think report cards can be discouraging. Regardless, I think they're important and positive for the student, teacher AND the sometimes clueless parents.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Mulitple Choice and Essay Tests

Ahh, tests. A touchy subject. There are many types of tests but out of multiple choice and essay, I prefer essay. I feel as though if a student is giving a blank piece of paper to answer a speific question, they will be better able to demonstrate their understanding of the topic. When you are giving multiple choice questions, the sudent can (1) guess, (2) get confused and (3) not fully show how much knowledge they know about the question.

I think multiple choice questions are good in certain circumstances. For example, some language art tests such as one word answer questions (synonyms, etc.). If a question is more then a few words, I feel as though essay format tests are the better choice.

However, even though I prefer essay tests, I realize that you cannot always give the same formatted test. In my classroom, I will use both multiple choice and essay tests. The main reason being that on a multiple choice test, if the student choices the wrong answer it is completely wrong and they recieve no credit(even if they knew something about the topic). Yet, on essay tests, you can assess the student based on everything the wrote down(which should show all or almost all of what they know on that topic). Altogether I think a teacher needs to realize when it is appropriate to use a multiple choice or essay test.

Monday, March 30, 2009


Portfolios! I love them! I think portfolios are a great way to track students work. I think they have the potential to be extremely effective while also allowing students to showcase their work. It allows the student to show their classmates, parents and themselves some of their best work. It is also a great way for the student to see the progress they have made throughout the year.

I especially like how it gets students involved. I remember in grammar school my teacher allowing me to pick out some of my stories from my writing folder for my portfolio. I always picked the best of the best out of all my stories. I remember how excited I would be to pick out my favorite work I did for my parents to see at parent/teacher conferences.

I also believe that portfolios are helpful to teachers and aren't just for students. It's a great way for a teacher to organize a students work and allow them to track the progress of that student that much more easily. I also think that when creating the portfolio it should not be up to the student alone. I think that the teacher and student work together so that it is a fair evaluation of the progress made.

In my classroom, I can see myself using portfolios. However, I wouldn't use a simple folder--I would like something more creative [maybe the pizza box idea Dr. Luongo said in our language arts class] or atleast folders decorated by the students. Something exciting!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Teacher Expectations

To begin, homework. Since in my last blog I discussed the importance of homework I thought it would be appropriate to begin this blog about teacher expectations dealing with homework. I would expect all students to complete the assigned homework complete and best to their ability. I expect my students to do their homework and not the parents, grandparents, aunt/uncle or an older sibling. I do not expect my students to do every assignment completely by themselves because I believe students are going to need help from parents and such.

Next, classroom expectations. I would expect a good amount from my students. Some would include: respect for eachother, good behavior, hard work and such. I believe each student should try their hardest in the classroom.

I believe that what you expect from your students will reflect what you get out of them. If you do not expect a lot from one student or believe s/he is incapable of completing something, then that student will perform to the low standard you expect him or her to. To get good results out of your students the teacher has to put high expectations into their classroom and students.

Monday, March 9, 2009


Homework. How many students look foward to homework? Most students (with the exception of a few) dread homework. I myself hated the sit-at-the-table and do your homework time. I remember prolonging it anyway possible. Mom I'm hungry. Mom can I just play for five more minutes? But Dad, the dog wants to go out. I have to let him out! I'm guilty of using these excuses to try and aviod homework for a few extra minutes. However, homework is necessary.

Homework can be a way of assessing students. Personally, I feel that homework can be used to assess students but kept to a minimal. Homework is done at home and how do you know a student is doing the actual work and not the parent? If it's not the student doing the work then who are you really assessing--the parent or maybe even a sibling.

Another issue I have witnessed is students rush through it. Last year I tutored at an after school program. The students were broken up into groups and rotated stations. One station they had to sit at tables and do their homework. I was helping a thrid grade boy with his math homework and this boy just was not concentrating! He was wondering what the girl at the table behind him was doing, what other groups were doing and when it would be his turn to go to the art station. I get the point that the program was trying to help the parents and make sure homework was getting done but how is homework going to benefit the child when it's getting done by a student whose attention is everywhere but on the homework. I believe students need homework but also need an enviornment where they can concentrate to do homework otherwise it is almost pointless.

Lastly, what homework is necessary? We've all had those annoying assignments we just can't figure out why we've been assigned them. (and I'm not just talking homework here, but also classwork) Was it necessary to assign it to the students? Maybe but then again maybe not.

When we are assigning homework as teachers, I believe we have to truly look at the assignment and think, "how is this going to benefit my students? Or am I just assigning it to have homework?" If it's the later of the two, then maybe we should be reconsidering the homework.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Rubistar--what a wonderful website! Before this module and a discussion in Dr. Luongo's Teaching Language Arts class, I never know such a site existed. I always dreaded the thought of making a rubric because I would think, what do I put in a rubric? How do I word it? What should be the difference between excellent and average? Ahhh, the confusion. Now, after being introduced to Rubistar, I know I will not have a problem making rubrics. I even plan on using them quite often! I do believe rubrics are great for assessing students[and also having proof if you as a teacher are questioned].

At first when I started looking through Rubistar I thought it only allowed you to create rubrics. Then, in class[Dr. Luongo's Teaching Language Arts] she showed us that you can also find already made rubrics! I love this website! And I think every teacher who hasn't been introduced to it is at a complete disadvantage![And I also feel bad for them because they still are going through the trouble of creating the perfect rubric!] Thanks Dr. Luongo for introducing us to this website!