SSI

Posted on November 6, 2008Filed Under Teaching, testing, The Giver | Leave a Comment

Since we’re reading The Giver, we’ve been talking about euphemisms. We’ve also been talking about the low scores on our Friday tests. Since the tests are largely made up of reruns of the warm-ups and pretests and pink sheets (grammar/mechanics) we’ve been working on (and copying into notebooks) all week, it seems like…

“Well, I’m pretty much giving you almost all the answers to the test. Umm. How much easier could I make it?”

A litany of what you’d expect. I should know by now. It’s like the robot Hymie, on Get Smart, or the one that parachuted onto Gilligan’s Island. They like to take everything literally. Knock yourself out.

“”No, I can’t take the test for you…or just give you all A’s…or…You all know what I mean. How many of you actually study – even a little – for the Friday tests?”

Two or three sheepish hands go up. All but one are probably lying.

“Hello? My sympathy level for you is zero.”

So. Finally I am fed up. Some of my best experiments emerge (academic word this week) when I am fed up. This is last Friday as we are looking at the scores from the test. (The CPS software is beauty for immediate feedback.)

“Obviously you aren’t taking this seriously enough. Here’s the new deal. Beginning next Friday, anyone who does not score at least 70% on the test will meet with me here all the next week during morning break.”

Splutter. Whine. Scream. Furious waving of hands in the air. One head hits a desk. And the inevitable,

“That’s not fair! A week of detention!?!”

“Oh no, we can’t call it that. This isn’t a consequence for bad conduct (academic word alert). This is different. Obviously what we have here are citizens who have made wrong choices. They need retraining in how to learn and succeed. Because if they don’t leave this school with the ability to pass tests like these, high school will be four years of hell.”

I pause to let ooooohs pass.

“I can’t let you out of here not being able to do that. (One of my Stull bill objectives this years is to have all of them score 70%+ on these. See how that works out nicely?)

“So what we’re calling these meetings is SSI – Supplementary Scholastic Instruction. Pretty good, huh?”

“But, but, but.”

“It looks to me like a 10-15 minute investment would probably pay off in a savings of 50 minutes. But if not, then we’ll use that time to teach you how to study and pass these tests.”

“But, but, but.”

Actually, my friendly and sensitive class said it was a good idea, and thanked me.

Seventh grade never ceases to amaze me. We’ll see what happens soon.

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