Sunday, January 18, 2009

State Tests and Brain Parties

So the NY State ELA exam is just a couple of days away, and, to be honest, I'm becoming a nervous wreck. Don't get me wrong, I am confident that my students will pass the test -- no, not pass, succeed -- I still find myself panicked about the implications for the exam.

To be fair, I shouldn't even refer to it as a test or an exam, my seventh graders told they hate the word test, so I vowed to come up with a different term. We settled on "Brian Party." My eighth graders think it's "corny" but it has been an affective motivational tool.

Anyway, I'm nervous because of the implications of this test. For all my students, the test determines whether or not they can be promoted to the next grade without having to go to summer school (and subsequently retake the "brain party"). For my seventh graders, the "brain party" scores go onto their high school applications next year. Talk about intense pressure!

But as I was saying, I'm confident in the teachers my students have had the last couple of years. The potential they've shown in my class the last couple of months has been astounding. What worries me is my teaching ability. I wonder, have I done enough to make a difference between a 3 or a 4 for any of them? What about between a 2 or a 3? I guess in a few days we'll know.

Till then, keep your fingers crossed.

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