The yearly assessments that happen during April in know way gives the teacher, principal, district office, the Educational State Department or the legislators a clear understanding of the development of the students they are assessing. These test are written for the students that can read. It measures how well a student can read and understand the content that is being stated.
The biggest problem, and one that the public at large doesn’t know is that the children who can’t read on the grade level that is being tested, or read on a first or second grade level and they are in the fourth grade, are not tested on the questions, because they can’t read the questions. We as educators do not really know from the assessment how much that student has learned that year.
A glaring fact that educators in every classroom has to face is the students from other countries who are still learning our language or don’t speak English at all. They have to take the same test that the brilliant students has to take. There are another populations off students who are in similar situations. They are called 504 students. A 504 student is a student who is behind in reading and math, but don’t qualify for Special Education. They cannot read the test very well. So you are not assessing their knowledge, just their inability to read the test. The last population who are not assess properly is the Special Education students. They not only can’t read the test, but even if you could read the test to them they wouldn’t understand the grade level you are testing. The fact is also true for the students who don’t speak our language or who is learning our language. There are students who almost have our language conquered, who if you read the test to them, they might score in the average level of above. Given the extent of education they had received in the country they came from.
This author was a classroom teacher and a principal for twenty-five years and have seen every senerio from every kind of child regarding this assessment. Teachers do not like slow children in their class because the score that these low children get reflect on the teacher’s ability to perform his/her performance in the classroom. Many teachers have voice their concern about this unfair practice. They feel this ruling by the legistrators doesn’t reflect the true knowledge their class has obtain during the months of August thru April. The fact that an ESL teacher can’t read the test to the students from other countries gives the Regular Education Classroom teacher an unfair advantage. The fact that Special Education Teachers can’t read the test to their students gives the Regular Education Classroom Teacher an unfair advantage in scoring the teacher’s abilities. The fact that the 504 students can’t have the test read to them gives the Regular Education Classroom teacher an unfair advantage in their scoring and results.
The reason the principal, district office, Educational State Department, and the Legistrators gives is the fear that the teacher reading the test to these students who are below in their skills would give the students the answers because they would want the students to do well. Some teachers think if the student feels good about themselves and learning then that is a good reason to help the students do better.
A way around this de lima of this problem could be a person from the office, district office or the Educational State Department could monitor the teacher while she is reading the questions to the students. Parents are an excellent choice in helping monitor the reading of the test. This would satisfy the authors of the assessments, and the powers to be, that the test was given in a professional manor, while testing the knowledge of the student. Also the notes that the student being tested and read to could go in the mix in scoring the understanding of the assessments.