MCAS alternative assessment

March 26, 2014 § Leave a comment

I was asked to head into school within the next 48 hours to sign my daughters math portfolio assessment for MCAS.

I have a problem with the fact that I am supposed to finagle my schedule to be rushed through a viewing of the portfolio. Why? There is truly nothing I can do about it if it’s a mess and honestly I am not sure I would recognize if it is. I teach K-2 – I do not have a lot of MCAS experience.

What a ridiculous process! The portfolio is a collection of student work samples that the teacher has gathered throughout the year and has been self- evaluated by the student along with the teacher.

The upsetting part is that if the teacher does a poor job collecting the work samples or presenting them within the portfolio then kids do poorly. What is really being graded here, the teacher’s ability to decipher the standards and collect work that aligns or does it really measure the students learning?

I don’t think an alternative assessment is a bad idea but I do think it could be more appropriately managed. I do think that the school should be required to communicate with parents before the final hour and discuss how it’s progressing along the way.

Students taking standard MCAS receive input along the way – MCAS practice sessions, MCAS homework and schools even offer tutoring to help improve MCAS scores if a student struggled on the practice exams. BUT if your taking the “alt” you best cross your fingers and hope the teacher assembling it did a good job.

Fair? Equal? – not really

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