Dismal (I Think…?) Tests

March 27, 2008 at 7:55 pm 2 comments

I just finished grading a stack of grammar tests, and I’m a little bit worried.

We gave this grammar test to the accelerated classes a week before we gave it to the regular class. The regular class was a little bit behind on everything, and the schedule just worked out better that way. We prepared both class levels the same way, using DR’s grammar bell activities (basically worksheets that we went through together, let the kids complete, and then graded in class).

[Note: In my “how to be a teacher” classes, they really stress NOT using grammar worksheets. They seem to be fairly successful, however, and I’ve yet to see a really workable alternative. This is, nevertheless, part of my concern.]

This test covered nouns, pronouns, prepositions, interjections, conjunctions, transitive and intransitive verbs, linking and action verbs, adverbs, adjectives, direct and indirect objects, subjects, and predicates. It also covered things like who/whom, I/me, we/us, they/them, etc.. The test was multiple-choice.

The accelerated test results weren’t as good as I am used to seeing from them. Usually their average score is a low A. On this test, it was a middle B. The score breakdown for the entire accelerated bunch is:

  A: 36%
B: 47%
C: 16%
D: 1%
 

Not bad, all things considered. Just not up to their usual standards. Then again, grammar is tough for sophomores.

Then I get to my regular class. Again, they were prepped for the test in the same way – just more hand-holding, more drills, more explanations. Took it slower, treaded more carefully. And their test results are not at all good. I’m actually kind of surprised, now that I’ve done the math,  to see that the average score was a 72%. Not a single person in the class got an A. The score breakdown is:

  A: 0%
B: 31%
C: 27%
D: 35%
F: 8%
 

Basically, 43% received a D or an F.

What I’m wondering is… are these scores as dismal as I think they are? Shouldn’t SOMEONE have gotten an A? I’ve got some bright kids in there, but only one person got as high as an 88. Did I fail to prepare them adequately? Or have my expectations gotten skewed by the accelerated students?

And – assuming that these scores are lower than they “ought” to be – what should I do? I’ve considered bumping up my 88 to an A and shifting all of the grades up accordingly. That would give 27% of them A’s, and leave only 15% with D’s or F’s. Would this be an appropriate case for grade shifting? They do it in the math and science classes at CHS. Or would I just be a  grade-inflating softie?

Beyond the actual grade, which I have to decide upon in the next 48 hours… I am thinking of doing an activity where they have to go through the test, track their errors, and find the parts of speech they really screwed up. Then they would have to do extra activities – not the same worksheets, methinks – on those parts of speech so that they could learn them in time for the lovely upcoming NCLB standardized tests.

What do you think? Any words of advice? Suggestions? Ideas where I might have gone wrong?

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Job(less) Prospects Back to School, and Third Quarter Grades

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. eyeingtenure  |  March 28, 2008 at 2:35 pm

    Considering that the bulk of students — 92 percent — got higher than an F, it would be fairer to say that most recieved a letter grade lower.

    I’d skew it back slightly. Take 5 percent of the points off of the assignment for the lower class. That’s if I’d do anything at all — personally, I lean to chalking it up to not preparing outside class on the part of the students.

    Reply
  • 2. eyeingtenure  |  March 28, 2008 at 2:56 pm

    …fairer to say that most recieved half a letter grade lower than usual. That’s what I meant to type.

    Reply

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The Bee’s Knees

This is the teaching journal of a student first-year second-year THIRD-YEAR (!!!) English teacher. I am writing this blog as a reflection for myself, a way to keep friends and family updated, and a sharing-ground between other educators online. I love comments!

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