THE BENCHMARK DILEMMA September, 2008 Denison Montessori School
1. The only possible merit of all that time spent—taking and scoring benchmark tests—is the opportunity to study your own students’ responses.
We have to do some higher level thinking here, not get trapped in the myth of number-crunching. Scores don’t matter; essays and incorrect answers might, if we take time to read them and think about them. We might even raise test scores by directly… Continue reading
Labor Day on September 1 reduced Week Three to four days:
Tuesday, September 2: a full day at 5 hours for Curriculum and Instruction
Wednesday, September 3: another normal day with 3.5 hours after Specials
Thursday, September 4: a field trip to the Museum and Planetarium gave us a full 5 hours of C & I
Friday, September 5: another normal day with Specials at 3.5 hours
TOTAL for Week Three: 16 Hours for C & I
Week Four skewered by the first round of Benchmark Tests
Monday, September 8: No interruptions, and no… Continue reading
Sixth grader Melissa answered 10 of the 23 math questions correctly. She knew several answers that no other sixth graders knew, probably the result of her fifth grade in a public school where they used the Everyday Math textbooks upon which these tests are based.
Jonas answered 7 of 23, less than 1/3 of the questions correctly, despite the air of confidence he seemed to display throughout the math testing period. There were noticeable errors on math that had been directly addressed in last year’s instruction followed by apparent confidence in practice. Example: he whizzed through… Continue reading
Three classroom assistants called paras work four and a half hours in each of the four Upper Elementary classrooms at Denison. None of us who act as lead teachers have figured out quite how this works, much less the assistants; but most of the time one of those helpers checks in with me sometime during the morning to see if I have clerical work and another spends two hours in my classroom during the afternoon. On Mondays I ask her to help organize the homework folders that go home on Monday afternoon. Today there was no help… Continue reading