Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Beach Run, Report Cards and State Testing

Today I took three of the kids to run a beach run before school. Tyler wanted to run but worked again today, and he starts at 6:30 a.m. The race met at 6:30 and started at 6:45 on the beach.
Before the race

Before the race

It's a 1/4th mile walk down to the beach.

Last minute hug before the race.

162 runners.  Jasmine was the only one under 18. About 157 of them were from the same USAF squadron. It was not a timed race. Just for the fun of it. I didn't get a time because they gathered for instructions and then just took off from that rather than lining up at a starting line.

Adam was first. He ran barefooted. About a third of the runners were barefooted. Jasmine ran in shoes because of the cleft in the bottom of her foot.

Jessica was about in the middle of the runners.

She headed straight into the water. There wasn't an official finish line.

Jasmine was so much smaller than the others, but she did not finish last.

After the race, I took my runners to Burger King for bacon, egg, cheese croissants. They changed clothes for school. I had Jessica drop me off at home and take the car. She dropped the other two off at school. They had unexcused tardies, but are both in good standing so it didn't really matter.
Everyone got a bag of these from the race.

Today was report card day. Kaleb had A/B honor roll and perfect attendance this quarter.  I think he's had perfect attendance all year. Last year he was suspended more than once so didn't have perfect attendance. 

Jasmine had A/B honor roll but not perfect attendance due to the trips to Dothan for her EEG and neurology appointments plus her orthopedic appointments in Pensacola. Last year we took her out of school for the Karen Kingsbury cruise. This year we are taking her out a day early to meet another adoptive family at Disney on our way to the cruise.

The other two only missed A/B honor roll by one grade. Jessica won't know how she did until end of the semester. Today they did blood spatter in forensics.

There is one big final dive for Jessica's dive class. The scenario is multiple homicides which start on land and move to the water. She and another girl are the dive leaders for this dive. The dive starts on an empty island near us and then moves to the water around it. I am very tempted to go over on my jet ski, but would want someone to go along for company and everyone else will be in school. I'd also have to get my jet ski to the marina to launch it and I haven't done that myself before. But it would be interesting.

Adam is supposed to have district meet tomorrow three hours away. However, there is chance of severe storms tomorrow. In that case, the meet would move to Friday. Unfortunately, Friday is the senior trip. The coach says they have to run anyway. The trip was $375 non refundable. One mom says she'll drive all the seniors from the meet to Orlando to meet the group if that happens. It's at least eight hours from the meet to Orlando. They would get there half way through Grad Bash at Universal, but no one can go in without their group, so we don't know if they'd be able to go to that. That's what most of them are really looking forward to. Saturday is Wet and Wild and Sunday is Busch Gardens.

So Adam should have a pretty exciting weekend. Not sure what the rest of will be doing. It might be warm enough for the beach.

What will the rest of you be doing?

Next week is the dreaded state testing. Only Jasmine takes FCAT this year. Last year she failed all three-science, math and reading. The reading score was not expected. She'd done great on it both years previously. And Adam had failed. They changed the test last year and consequently, Adam was able to pass and Jasmine failed by 3 or 4 points.

When is your state testing, and what are your thoughts on testing?


Sarah said...

I like testing. It is only two times a year here, and it gives a good idea at where a child is at academically in relationship to state standards, to others, it allows them more scholarship opportunities, allows colleges to look at them differently, and it gives the students a non-subjective view on what they need to work on. Plus, lets not forget it truly, truly holds teachers accountable. It lets them know where their weaknesses and strengths may be. It lets them be true to themselves, and they can't jimmy the test results to favor themselves.

I'm a SPED teacher...which might be why I love testing. However, in working with the dozens of teachers I work with it is beyond obvious that each teacher grades differently and is subjective in their testing and grading. I've dealt with a lot of students who have done incredible in one class but horrible in others mainly due to how the teachers write/score the tests. Teachers do test a lot, reading quizzes, math quizzes, pop quizzes, end of chapter tests, etc.

Obviously, testing shouldn't be the end all to all. There are kids out there that are horrible testers but can demonstrate the same level of knowledge through other means. A child is legally allowed to test in any environment and if they do have testing anxiety there are other options, when this is done I've seen kids test better. But again, it shouldn't be the end all to all.

With that said, I believe there is TOO much pressure on kids to do well on these tests. I get why, there is A LOT of funding wrapped up in those test scores. Kids should not feel stressed, it should just be another test that they need to do their best. But it isn't make it or break it....which I think is how the problems with testing came to be.

Kathy C. said...

I think we need a way to assess progress, but I'm not sure the FCAT is it. The older standardized tests did that, but the new state wide testing determines class placement and even whether a child passes or not. There was child in our local schools with a straight A average all four years of high school. He was in the top ten percent of his class but not allowed to graduate because he couldn't pass one of the test. If he'd been special needs, like Jasmine, and had an IEP the teacher could have done paperwork to prove he'd met the benchmarks, but because he wasn't special needs, he had to pass the test. I'm not sure whatever happened to him. It was a couple of years ago.

Sarah said...

That is horrible! That poor guy- hopefully his parents got a good lawyer. I don't think they should determine class placement or anything that serious or that impacting of a child's future! In my opinion that is WAY too much pressure to put on a child.

Katie Tripp said...

I don't like the state testing. I taught for 9 years, and especially for the little ones, it is way too much. They test for an entire week, for about 3 hours a day. Trying to get a 2nd or 3rd grade student to focus for that long isn't worth it. I'm in AZ, and we have AIMS. As teachers we laugh, because one year the writing tests will come back and everyone will excel and other years everyone falls far below. Writing will always be subjective, so state mandated testing doesn't seem to make much difference in that area. The nationally normed tests don't bother me as much, but I do think too much pressure is put on kids with these tests. As far as making sure the teachers are held accountable. . . I think that's debatable as well. I taught in K-3 school where 95% of my students were ESL (English as a second language). They were also poverty level, and many didn't have enough food at home. To test the kids in my school and compare them against middle class students doesn't say I didn't do a good job as a teacher, it meant they had so much catching up to do, they were going to be behind for awhile. I understand checking to make sure they are making progress (which they were), but comparing them against students who never worried about food, or electricity, or whether their parents would be deported. . .well, their scores will be very different. Also, my students who have been on IEPs and are working at a lower grade level, and then get tested just get frustrated and it makes them feel terrible. Again, I think they should be held accountable for their learning, but why would I test someone on 2nd grade level if they are only working at a first grade level? I think that testing/assessment can be a good thing, but not the way it is currently done.

Kathy C. said...

The grade level thing is a problem for Jasmine. She's working at 5th grade level in math and science but will test as a 6th grader.