We return to school tomorrow to begin the final preparation for the statewide tests, which begin on April 13th and will go through the first week or so of May.
We teacher will hear the words "teaching objectives," "test preparation," "bubble kids," and so on.
That last one, "bubble kids," really shows the harm of the high stakes testing game that all schools are playing.
A "bubble kid" or "bubble student" is one who, by means through the benchmark or preparatory testing we have done, is likely "on the bubble" when it comes to passing the End of Instruction (EOI) test that is the new pay-off for students and their schools. The idea is that we need to focus our effort on these students to push them from being on the failure side of the bubble to the passing side.
We are told that we should not neglect those students who seem at this point to have little hope of passing the test, but, in order to get the "biggest bang for our buck" (i.e. the best results in the number of students passing through our intervention), we need to pay extra attention to those on the bubble through increased mentoring, extra tutoring, and extra attention.
To me, this is rather poor educational practice. One would think those most struggling would get most attention. Nearly every teacher, administrator, and even educational consultant I have spoken with about this agrees with me, often with a "what can you do" shrug of their shoulders. But they all, particularly the administrators and consultants, say in so many words, "Well, this is the reality of education these days." It's a topsy-turvy, mad, mad, mad, mad world.
Robert Lynn Green
- I am a high school English teacher in an urban high school in Oklahoma City. I am a member of the American Federation of Teachers, Local 2309. I am a Democrat, a union activist and a worker for social justice. I also am a Christian (Congregationalist). I play chess and coach our school chess team.