Friday, May 11, 2012

California State Testing Insanity!

Today I went to the high school to be a double rater for the state test.  It's called the CAPA (California Alternate Performance Assessment).  This is the test for students who are working on a more functional curriculum.   Most of my students don't take this test.   My students take the regular state tests (CST) or they take the CMA (California Modified Assessment).   The CMA tests the exact same curriculum but it basically gives the students the choice of 3 possible answers instead of 4 and they might put a picture or two on the test to make a question easier to understand.  I had one student in my class taking the CAPA this year.  This meant that the high school teacher had to come to my room at the Junior High School and I had to go to her school in order to assure that we are grading the students correctly.  This is called inter-rater reliability.  The state requires us to double rate 10% of our students.  Since I only had one student, he had to be double rated.  She had to have two of her student double rated since she has 16 students taking the CAPA. 

I'm not really writing to explain how testing in California works, but really to vent about how insane the two week window of State testing is for a teacher like me.  I administered the 7th grade CST, the 8th grade CST, the 7th grade CMA, the 8th grade CMA, the CAPA for my one student and the CAPA for the other teachers' two students.  Each test has at least two parts; English and Math.  The 8th graders have to take History and Science as well.  Each test has different directions, and the CAPA requires manipulatives and preparation such as pre-cutting the prompt pictures and gathering materials.

For some reason, it seems as if I am the only one who finds this to be a little insane. The general education teachers just blow me off as a complainer and ask me why I can't use one of my many aides to give the students their tests.  I tried to explain that it was against the law for me to do that, but their reply was, "Well you only have 10 students. How hard can it be?"  GRRRR!!!!!

To top it all off, I had to test two of those same students for their annual IEP's.  I also had to hold those IEP's with the parents and I had prospective incoming parents visiting my classroom.

I'm hoping that the new method of testing in California will bring some sanity, but unfortunately I don't have a lot of faith in it being any better for Special Education.  Even if teachers are lucky enough to have any input in the new tests, most of them obviously don't know what it is like to be in my shoes, and I don't really think that they care, because after all, I have all of those aides to do my work for me.  ;^)

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