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Tests Continued from page 19 may be pressured to teach to the test, what is happening in the classroom would abhor many, many parents. Schools are pulling re- leased sample test questions and focusing on how to get their kids to elimi- nate, guess and out-trick the test makers.” “Everybody does it,” says Virginia Tibbetts, a fifth-grade teacher at Roosevelt School in Anaheim. “We’re requested to do it and have special periods during instructional time when we do it.” Tibbetts, a member of the Anaheim Elementary Educa- tion Association, says that teachers take released sample test questions and show students how to narrow down the answers. “We put them on the overhead. There are usually two pretty outlandish answers, and we teach students how to eliminate those right away. Then there is a ‘distractor’ answer which is pretty close to the correct answer, but just a little bit off, and it’s designed to distract you from the real answer. We teach kids how to rec- ognize those. Kids can be taught to do this and it doesn’t prove they understand the question. It’s teaching children how to pass a test rather than teaching them concepts about which they need to be ade- quately educated.” Unnecessary levels of stress With so much pre-testing Lindy Monge Magnolia Educators Association and pressure to score well, many students experience high levels of stress, says Lindy Monge, a sixth-grade teacher at Robert M. Pyles Elementary School in Stanton. “By the time we get to the CSTs, the BAD-02-08-10988.CTA 2/7/08 12:00 PM Page 1**nbkjy5z�**Users:nbkjy5z:Desktop: kids are very stressed,” she says. “They know how important it is. If a student moves up any level, be it from Far Below Basic to Below Basic, or from Basic to Proficient, or any combination of mov- ing up, then they get recognition with a medal. In sixth grade the pressure is more on them for the fact that we tell them all year that these scores on the CST will be used to determine their classes in junior high. If they don’t do well on them, they won’t be able to par- ticipate in electives, and instead will be taking remediation classes to improve in math and language arts. So instead of taking an art class, or woodworking, or computers, they will be taking two math classes, or an extra reading class along with their regular language arts class. Students are reminded of doing well on these tests almost daily.” Over the years, she has seen students become mysteriously ill before testing, and teachers need to call them at home and tell them they need to show up. “I’ve had kids leave the room throw- Enjoy the rewards. Get something back for your everyday purchases. Use your California Teachers Association Visa® Card with WorldPoints® rewards from Bank of America, and you’ll earn points you can redeem for cash, travel, merchandise, even unique adventures.� Rewards for the things you buy anyway. Plus ongoing support for the California Teachers Association. 1.866.438.6262 Use Priority Code FACBGVwhen calling. For information about the rates, fees, and other costs and benefits associated with the use of this Rewards card, or to apply, call the toll free number above, or write to P.O. Box 15020, Wilmington, DE 19850. � Terms apply to program features and Credit Card account benefits. For more information about the program, visit Details accompany new account materials. This credit card program is issued and administered by FIA Card Services, N.A. The WorldPoints program is managed in part by independent third parties, including a travel agency registered to do business in California (Reg. No. 2036509-50); Ohio (Reg. No. 87890286); Washington (6011237430) and other states, as required. Visa is a registered trademark of Visa International Service Association, and is used by the issuer pursuant to license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. WorldPoints, the WorldPoints design and Platinum Plus are registered trademarks of FIA Card Services, N.A. Bank of America and the Bank of America logo are registered trademarks of Bank of America Corporation. All other company and product names and logos are the property of others and their use does not imply endorsement of, or an association with, the WorldPoints program. ©2008 Bank of America Corporation T-709149-092107 BAD-02-08-10988 ing up,” says Monge, a member of the Magnolia Educators Association. “Some- times they become frozen, and you have to talk them through it and encourage them. The high achievers are the most stressed. Sometimes their hands will go up and they point to something and say, ‘You didn’t teach me this.’ I have to ex- plain to them that I have taught them the depth and breadth of standards-based education and if the question is being asked in a different way, they need to use their skills and knowledge to the best of their abilities. This goes on for two weeks of testing. There must be a better way to do this.” NAEP Continued from page 19 Columbia and tied with four other states. The fact of the matter is that nationwide scores are stagnant. But when you measure Califor nia students based on the state’s standards (among the highest in the country), the results tell a different story. The state’s API system says California students have been making steady progress. 38 California Educator | NOVEMBER 2009

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