The Indiana Department of Education is trying to put a happy face on the fact that we're torturing kids with two sets of ISTEP+ tests this year. Three weeks of test-prep plus a week of testing in the fall is not enough for our lawmakers. This year, while we're making the switch from Fall to Spring testing, we get to waste more days with this exercise in inept and abusive pedagogy.
In Friday's email, our corporation test coordinator informed all the building level test coordinators that there is an Indiana Department of Education Web Site with samples for our teachers to use to help "prepare" our kids for the Spring testing. I went to investigate and found the following...
The first Item Sampler I looked at was titled "Sample Items Grades 3-5" and was posted on December 2, 2008.
The Item Samplers on this website provide information about ISTEP+ for students, parents, educators, and others. The items in each sampler are examples of the types of items found on ISTEP+. These examples can serve as models when teachers are constructing items for classroom assessment. It should be noted that the samplers are not practice tests.
Sample test items and scoring rubrics are included in the Item Samplers. The items are samples only and not actual items. The samples are representative of the types of items that appear on ISTEP+.
On page 2 of this publication, there is an inane little story called “Mei-Win’s Blue Beads” about a little girl's first day at a new school...her fears about finding friends...and how her Grandmother's necklace of blue beads helps her meet the children in her new class.
It' s typical ISTEP stuff...story followed by questions. The very first question, though, presents a problem. It's grammatically incorrect. Is the student supposed to answer the question or correct it?
"How does Mrs. Jackson and the other students in the class show kindness towardsI always thought that subject and verb should agree, right? If we substitute the pronoun "they" for the subject, Mrs. Jackson and the other students, the question would read, "How does they show kindness..."
Mei-Win? Use details from the story to support your answer."
We can give the DOE the benefit of the doubt and assume that it just slipped by...a typo...perhaps it started out as "How does Mrs. Jackson show kindness..." and after editing someone forgot to change the does to do.
I know that it's too much to hope that we would stop misusing these stupid tests year after year...but perhaps there's still time to have someone proofread the tests for this sort of error so that our students aren't subjected to poor teaching by the Indiana DOE in addition to poor testing.
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