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January’s Test:

Today we received our scores from the 5th grade writing profeciency exam we took in January, and 76 of the 118 fifth graders who took the test passed. We needed 53% to meet federal mandates, and we achieved 67%. That is pretty dang good for a school whose population is abput 85% second language learners.

Update:  I have just reviewed the data.  In my classroom, 11 out of 22 students passed,  50%.  Out of the 11 that did not pass, one speaks limited English and two are classified Special Ed.  One of the two raised his score 5 points this year, but it still wasn’t enough to pass.  The very worst score in my classroom came from a student who should have passed, but is just too lazy to bother with pushing his pencil across the paper.

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Today’s Test:

This afternoon, Ben worked diligently on the constructed response question on the State Criterion Referenced Test. He drew a food chain. He labeled it. He explained it. It was beautiful. Then he double checked his work, reading the directions again. “F–k!” He muttered. “I need an eraser.”

I turned, extending the eraser. “Excuse me?

He looked right at me as he took the eraser and repeated, “F–k!”

My eyebrows rose. “I beg your pardon?

With one hand, he pointed at the test-booklet right below the directions telling him what page to write his answers on. With his other hand, he pointed at the page number he did write his answer on. They didn’t match. “What would you say?” He demanded.

I shrugged one shoulder apologetically and nodded my head. The kid had a point.

Quilly is the pseudonym of Charlene L. Amsden, who lives on The Big Island in Hawaii. When she is not hanging out with Amoeba, she is likely teaching or sewing. Or she could be cooking, taking photographs, or even writing. But if she's not doing any of that, she's probably on Facebook or tinkering with her blog.


  1. Congratulations on making the high score. Lets hope the Legislators will recognise your hard work at your school. I said bug off many years in school and almost was sent to the principal. The only reason I wasn’t is my teacher saw I was provoked to the extreme.

    I hope you are feeling better soon. I will ask God’s Angels to help make you feel better.

  2. Bill — thanks for the prayers. I felt bad enough today that if it werenn’t for the NCLB testing, I would have stayed home. As to our school being recognized — last year we made the top ten “most improved.” This year we still have a few hurdles to jump before we know how we placed.

  3. Congratulations on January’s test scores.

    And sometimes the right word is just the right word, regardless of your age.

  4. Nessa — thanks on the test scores. There was dancing and singing in the school office yesterday. As to that word — I completely understood Ben’s need to say it. Luckily, no one else heard him, so I wasn’t forced to reprimand him.

  5. Ooooooooh boy! You really DO live in a different world! In MY world there would be no shrugging shoulders! Wouldn’t really matter if he had a point or not! He’d have been in the office – and I mean fast! We don’t put up with that at the HIGH school — NO WAY would it fly at the elementary level!

    I think your kids did great – even at only 50% — but the one that’s too lazy to move the pencil — those are the ones that just drive me up a wall! THAT is our biggest problem in OUR schools — it’s not “bad” behavior or “bad” language NEARLY so much as it is student apathy! We have a TON of that!

  6. Melli — many of our kids hear such words as a routine part of their day, and until they come to school they don’t know they aren’t pubically acceptable. If we sent every kid to the office who used them, our classrooms would be empty. As a rule we reprimand, then educate parents. Ruben knows that he’s not to use that word in my classroom again, but I doubt he completely understands why.

    Al — often those type words are the bulk of the “English” their parents know.

  7. Mal — I have a good many alternate words I use. Some of the kids pick them up, some don’t. I don’t use “frak”, I use “flip.”

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