Monday, June 18, 2012

Geniuses at Work

Today, while I was marking papers, someone came into our office with a question about Spanish. I thought they were looking for someone to speak Spanish, so I volunteered. After all, it seemed like a nice break from reading papers.

But it turned out that there was a problem with the city's Spanish test. The instructions said pick two questions from 31, 32, and 33, but question 33 turned out not to exist. This posed a problem for our young test-takers.

I spoke to some Spanish teachers who told me that 33 would have been a picture, and that their students were prepared to write about a picture, but there was just no darn picture.

And this, dear readers, is what is wrong with standardized testing. Last week, I gave a final exam, and left some words out. I was able to write them on the board when a student pointed it out to me. However, no one can correct the city, since Mayor Bloomberg already knows everything. Otherwise, why would he have all that money?

So city kids, I suppose, have to work it out for themselves. If Mayor Bloomberg's test designers can't be bothered to check whether or not they included the last question, the last question simply doesn't belong there. After all, 8 of 13 members of the PEP are selected by Mayor Bloomberg, and if they say the mayor is never wrong, that ought to be good enough for anyone.

Could be my school got a bad batch. But the question is, who's accountable? In Mayor Bloomberg's ideal New York, teachers would be fired for offenses they'd already been cleared of. Will heads roll for this, or does "accountability" apply only to unionized teachers?

Update: A commenter states this happened at another school. Did it happen at yours? Any Spanish teachers out there

Update 2: Tweet from Leonie points to what looks like confirmation.
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