In advance of the California Standardized Testing (CST’s) which began today, the administration at my school took it upon themselves to conduct a little survey. In this survey they gave us our scores for math and English from the years 2010 and 2011 and asked us to review the difference. After doing so they asked for our written opinion of why we thought our scores changed the way they did and what could be done to improve them. For some reason being asked this set of questions made something “click” within me. I had never had the administration ask for my opinion on something before so when this time finally came, I was dumbfounded. I had some trouble thinking of what to put down as my answer. Eventually, after I had formulated my response, I still was not able to put down an answer because as president of a campus organization I must have a good report with the administration. What I ended up putting down was nowhere near what I actually felt. Thankfully, however, I have my blog to fully express and articulate my position and why I have chosen to do so.
Why did you receive the score you did and what could be done to improve them?
I received (earned) an “advanced” score in English/Language arts for both years. I received such a score because I have not read a single passage from the test booklet for the past 4 years or so. A majority, if not all, of the questions do not require you to actually read the passage because they will either give you an excerpt to analyze or have the question not directly related to the text. If I were to try and read the whole passage it would 1. Waste time and 2. Be such a huge wave of information that would confuse me and prevent me from realizing the questions on the test are very straight forward in what they are asking. Since I received an “advanced” there is no room for improvement unless one were counting points in which case I would say my argument for math will apply here as well. English is my least favorite core subject while math is without a doubt my preference. Yet in both 2010 and 2011 I received “proficient”, even doing so much as to drop points. However I know exactly why I have consistently done worse on math than in English each year. My Algebra 2 teacher, a diligent woman, mapped out the entire year beforehand and on day one told my class that she would not be able to teach everything that we needed to know for the CST’s. She was never absent and did one, sometimes two sections day, yet still was not able to complete the standards. This was in no way her fault. Every state in the Union has had to undergo budget cuts. But at the same time as they are cutting school days they are expecting us to do more and more. The phrase “Do more with less” physically cannot apply to education. Cutting school days does not equal more time to learn new standards, but this simple logic seems to escape some people. I know my school’s administration does not have any power over the matter, but the fundamental thing which would improve my scores as well as those of my fellow classmates would be to stop cutting class learning time while at the same time expecting to get more done. There is a simple choice to improve my scores; either give the teacher more time to teach what you want him/her to teach or retool the test as to not expect us to know what is impossible to have learned.