Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Testing 101

So here I am in my third week of school at San Ambrosio with one more week to go after this before the kids are out for break. Yep, last day of school is our Thanksgiving Day. Since we´re at the end of the school year, what else would be going on but testing! I wish I could say something different, but testing here is no more exciting than testing in the states. Today my 2nd graders took their English test.

The test was based off of the three readings they have done from ´the book´ that the teachers at San Ambrosio use to teach English. The test is pretty typical.. multiple choice, matching, fill in the blank and short answer. There are about 10 questions, give or take, for each story they read. Once we passed out the tests I was under the assumption that the students would be working by themselves to answer the questions.. but maybe that is just customary in the states??

I was told after we handed all the students a test that we needed to go around and help them with the test. I was a little confused at first.. so I thought maybe we were just supposed to re-read the questions in English for them if they did not understand or couldn´t pronounce the words. This was pretty much the case for most of the students. I went around and asked them the questions again if they needed it and tried to help them understand without translating it for them into Spanish. Some of the children knew the answer in Spanish but couldn´t remember the word for it in English. I wouldn´t give them the answer, but I´m sort of under the impression that the teacher I work with did. Needless to say my first period today was very frustrating.

After 2nd grade, the teacher I work with needed to grade the tests during the next two periods, so I taught Pre-k and Kinder today without her. No big deal.

Well in our next class, 1st grade, she brings the graded tests in to show me the results. She told me that one of our students scored a 100 on the exam. I just kind of sat there for a second with a look of disbelief on my face because the student who scored a 100 is a student who never listens to instruction, fails to do classwork and just does whatever they want to in class. This student also had one of the lowest scores in the class on a previous English test. Well, after my shocked look she proceeds to tell me, ¨Well, I helped [this student] on the test so they could finish.¨


So after 1st grade is lunch and after lunch Kayla tells me that the teacher she is working with explained it to her a little bit. Apparently if their students do not pass the English exam they have to come back in December for another test. So in an effort to keep themselves from having to come back in December to test these students again, the teachers just help them with the test and give them the answers so they can pass.

I´m sorry, but I like to call that major cheating and I am fired up today! I don´t see how they are able to do this and get away with it. This is why the students´ English is so poor... they´re not pushed to their potential and they know they don´t have to push themselves because if they don´t they´ll still get the answers anyway. It disgusts me. The student who got a 100 today scored higher than my highest students who actually try and put forth an effort to learn English.

We may as well let them work together as a class to complete the test, right? Whats the point, really?!

Thats all for my venting today, and other than that it is a beautiful, sunny, hot and dusty day in Nicoya!

Hasta Luego,

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