Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The Monster 8th grade takes a test

Looking for sometime to do with the 8th grade Monsters this week, I hit on the idea of giving them an end-of-the-semester test. I was in a dark mood yesterday afternoon, but the idea of preparing a test which I knew they were doomed to struggle with cheered me up immensely.

Still, I didn’t want to set them up for complete failure. So this is what I did: I looked back on the various worksheets and activities we’ve done this year, and selected 5 which summed up the basic grammar points they’ve learned so far (passive voice, reported speech, and relative pronouns, mostly). I added a listening section and two speaking sections as well. After all, I am supposed to be teaching them conversational English.

But let me reiterate what I thought was an important point: 5 of the 8 sections (and 55 of 100 points) were exercises that we had already done. Somewhere, jammed in their bottomless backpacks, they have these very exercises which I so carefully corrected, graded, and gave back.

That being said. The test grades, out of 100 total points, were as follows: 42, 90, 73, 76, 65, 81, 51, 79, 83, 58, and 81.

You can see the range. The problem is: the good grades mostly belong to the calm, normal students, who will, when I hand back the tests, take it with a smile and thank me politely. The low and failing grades belong to the troublemakers, the kids twice as big as me, the ones who are capable of harming me. At least two have been in scuffles with teachers before.

Tomorrow should be interesting.

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