Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Report Cards (Slice 5 of 31)
This post is a part of the Slice of Life challenge which is hosted on the Two Writing Teachers blog. The month of March the challenge is to write a blog post a day.
This week I am frantically trying to catch up with all of the grading I need to do so that I can turn in report cards on Friday. I always start out the marking period with the best of intentions. "I will keep up with it this time," I say to myself. And then life gets in the way.
This year especially, my work load seems to always be about three times what I could reasonably be expected to do. Our district is under strict mandates from the state DPI because we have not met adequate yearly progress. Did I mention that we are a large urban district with a very high poverty rate? According to these mandates, we need to be doing response to intervention in all subject areas and differentiating all day long. Also, we need to do bell to bell instruction and should not have any down time (even in elementary school classrooms). Also, we need data. Lots of data. I do not have an issue with giving students formative assessments so that they can understand where they are and I can plan better. However, not every one of those assessments is going to be one with a numerical score that I can "analyze." There are many things that are far more valuable that are more qualitative in nature. Yet, here I am bogged down with scores that I MUST turn in. (Don't get me started about how the assessments I am required to use do not align with the standards I am teaching) Since my report cards are standards-based report cards, all of this data is extraneous. All of these mandates make it impossible to get my work done in a reasonable amount of time. I usually am at school at least 2 hours a day longer than required and if I don't do about 6 hours of work on the weekend, I am behind all week.
Therefore, I find myself scrambling in this week when report cards are due to look at and analyze the work that my students have done this trimester. I do not want to sell anyone short when determining their proficiency in the standards. Little by little, I am developing a system to help all of us understand the standards better. I want my students to be able to self-assess and understand why they receive the scores they do. Time to take a deep breath, buckle down, and get those grades done.