October 30, 2007

A Great Day to Succeed!

My night school students are incredulous that they have to come to school on Halloween Night. Most of them won't come, but there are about 50 students who need to attend because tomorrow is the state proficiency writing exam.

You know the proficiency exam that determines whether students can graduate? (Okay, so they do have more than one chance to take the exam.) The same proficiency exam that determines AYP for high schools? Yea, that proficiency exam.

Night school students have to suffer because they'd rather run the streets like wild animals go trick or treating. Boo-hoo. We feel so sorry for them. Taking an important test isn't going to affect regular high schools on Halloween because the students will surely attend during the day since all the fun is at night.

Yea, and in what crazy costumes will these students be taking this exam? Will their minds be on this important test? Will they be all hyped up on Smarties?

I believe that most of us teachers try to carry on with school during these crazy holidays. Sure, maybe we deviate from the regular curriculum and do something related to the spooks within our content area, but do we plan important tests on Halloween? (Or on Valentine's Day? Or Homecoming Week? Or the day before Winter Break?) I doubt it.

The hardcore teachers don't care what holiday it is or what teen distraction there might be when they plan exams. Of course, it's up to the students to grow up and be prepared. I can respect that point of view.

When it comes to graduation rates and meeting AYP, would even the hardest, most cynical teacher still give a test?

I wonder.

So, who exactly in the state department of education thought that it would be a good idea to administer a state-wide proficiency exam on Halloween? I'm sure there are teachers and testing administrators asking this question in every single high school in the state.

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