OMG, the AIMS (tests) are finally over! Two tests per day times four days, and each test ends up running around an hour and a half, by the time everyone is done. Yesterday they were starting to look like they were ready for Exploding Brain Syndrome, so I got out paper lunch sacks and taught them to make puppets and how to write a script. They finished making the puppets this morning, and will finish the scripts this afternoon (in theory). Then tomorrow they can practice some more and present their puppet shows. We don’t have SFA (reading), so we will have the time to do that.
For the entire testing period, plus before, I’m walking around in circles. That’s a lot of circles. Tuesday night I went to be shortly after I got home and slept until 5:30. Zzzzzzz.
Today after the last test, we did “circle time” and debriefed. We went around the circle for each question: How were the tests the same as what you expected? How were they different? What did you do this school year that helped you do well? What did you do this school year that kept you from doing your best on the AIMS? What will you do or do differently next year?
Debriefing is good. It doesn’t make sense to me to just move on after the test is over. There needs to be at least some small amount of processing. Some were surprised at how boring, long, and hard it was. They expected a little boring, a little long, and a little hard, but not like what they got. I have told them that I don’t worry about those who recognize that the test is hard, especially since every single question is written so that half the students answering it get it wrong. I worry about those who think the tests are easy, because they more than likely failed. You have to really concentrate on these questions (even I have had problems with some of the practice test questions), so if they can just zip through it, it’s a bad sign. Usually my “zippers” are those who can’t read at grade level anyway and have no clue what they’re reading.
But, now it’s over, except for the part where a chunk of my evaluation is based on their AIMS scores and progress. Progress = FFB needs to move up to Approaches, A needs to move up to Meets, and M needs to move up to Exceeds. Um, yeah. Me, I’m happy if a kid who Meets still does the next year. Every year you have to get more answers right to get Meets, so getting the same level 2 years in a row IS making progress.