A Teacher's Day

The day in the life of an inner city large urban school district teacher after the high stakes testing ends and there is still three more months left before summer vacation.

Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

I have taught school for over thirty years always in the inner city and for the most part always upper grade students. I have two children and I have been married for twenty years.

Monday, April 16, 2007


The ISAT test is the standardized test for Illinois. It’s the reason I began this blog over a year ago. It comes too soon in the school year—we still have three months to go if you count this one—and many students feel the school year has ended. I thought I would chronicle the events that occurred in my school after testing. I got carried away and I’m still at it.

The ISAT test is over for the 2006-2007 school year. I just thought this item would be of interest.

One question on the ISAT science test went as follows (I’m paraphrasing):

Which list shows the correct order of a food chain?

A. grass, snake, rat, cricket
B. snake, grass, rat, cricket
C. rat, snake, cricket, grass
D. snake, cricket, grass, rat

There is no answer.

One of my students raised his hand. “There is no answer,” he said and showed me.

I’m thinking maybe the comma between grass and snake is a mistake and the choice is really grass snake, rat, cricket.

“What should I do?” he asked.

And I didn’t know how to answer him. The mistake is so gross and so wrong, he had to wonder about the rest of the test.

I did report this wrong answer to the administration of my school. I understand more than a dozen other mistakes were found. Last year my class scored an incredible 97.5% on the science portion of the ISAT in seventh grade.

Could it be because there were so many mistakes on the test they just had to give them more points?


Blogger George Schmidt said...

Let's start a movement to have all high-stakes tests (and their scoring rubrics) public after administration in every state.

1:37 PM  

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