As much as I hate the idea that so much depends on a single day of testing, I have to admit that the day the scores begin to come in is an exciting time! As the Principal sprinted into her office today (she rarely sprints!) she called for the Leadership team and a pack of highlighters. We waited impatiently as she powered up her computer to pull up the school scores. At this point we simply get the scores of each third grader from the state. It's up to us to figure out the rough percentages and then to figure out which kids will not count in the school score (because we didn't have them in both attendance periods or because they are active second language learners or Special Education students). We will get a final score from the state much later, but we simply cannot wait! Each of us takes a list and we figure the grade level percentages and then the percentages for each homeroom in both Math and Reading before the Principal calls the grade level together. Of course, during the hour that it takes to figure it all out, the buzz has run through the building that the 3rd grade scores are in! As the grade level gathers, teachers look stressed. Some are anxious and others look like they might get sick. A few are really excited! As soon as the percentages are unveiled with the grade level, you can hear teachers talking among themselves, congratulating themselves on their successes. They are both proud and relieved! Very few disappointing scores come as a surprise. We did notice for this grade level that of the 16 or so students who scored a Level 1 or 2, over half of those students live in the community that we have just decided to target for some intensive academic support!
There's nothing like a young teacher who has 100% of her students score 3 or better or the seasoned inclusion teacher who will spend hours tonight going through the scores of every single student to decided what worked and what didn't and how to tweak instruction for some of her most needy students. Many teachers will look at when the children came to Chets Creek because historically, it's the students that come new to us that are the ones that struggle the most. I'll never believe that the one test should determine passing and failing or should ever be the largest factor in a teacher's pay but there is something very satisfying and validating about seeing in black and white that all of your hard work has made a difference! Wow! What a day!