Wednesday, May 17, 2006

No such thing as a stupid question

I have three Gifted and Talented World History sections. You can always tell the differece in ability on test day. No, I don't mean by looking at the test average (though you can tell from that too). You can tell just by the questions they ask DURING the test.

From my 1st section, not a peep. They did not ask a single question during the entire test. From my second section, here is a list of questions asked during today's test:

What does annex mean? (asked twice by two different students within minutes of each other, mispronounced both times)

What is a bottleneck? (asked twice by two different students)

What do you mean by labor relations?

What do you mean by western nations? (asked twice by the same student)

What do you mean by modernization? (asked twice by two different students)

Where do we put the test when we're finished (not only had I told them specifically at the beginning of class what they should do, but we have had the exact same procedure all year long. It has never changed.)

I shouldn't complain. This is what I get paid to do. I just mean to point out that I think there is a great difference in student knowledge and in ability to use context clues and elimination. Incidentally, when my 11th grade AP students take a test, I refuse to clarify questions or terms for them since they can't ask for help on the AP exam. Sometimes the wording on the AP exam includes some sophisticated vocabulary, but I don't mind. If they are consistently reading their textbooks and outside reading, they should be learning new words all the time. Where do people get the idea that reading skills are only important in English?

Okay, this has taken a detour quickly so I'll wrap up here.