Good evening. I rise today on behalf of some of my middle school colleagues to express a concern they have regarding the district mandated Language Arts writing tests. I bring to you some issues and hope that as a district we can come to a resolution.
First, I do not see a need for this test as it is currently administered. I have been informed that the district wishes to collect district wide data regarding writing scores, but unless they are graded anonymously there will be inherent bias in the grading process. If teachers do not have a common grading approach, each score will only reflect that one teacher’s opinion thus not giving the district usable data. The test will not provide a meaningful comparison district wide. This type of grading system is flawed and thus the test should not be given in its present form.
Second, this test takes away from valuable class time and instruction. If the data was valid, this might be forgivable, but as stated before the data cannot be used to compare from classroom to classroom or school site to school site. This data can only be used to compare one teacher to herself, and isn’t that what their current classroom assignments already do?
Third, the teachers are not being provided adequate time to grade the tests. They were told they had ten days to grade their student’s essays. A teacher in Temecula has an average of 180 students. If it takes them just five minutes to read and grade each essay that is an extra 15 hours of work that you are asking them to do in ten days…for free… on top of the lesson planning, grading, etc. that my colleagues already do. This is an undue burden on our wonderful Language Arts teachers, but bless their hearts they did it. The biggest insult though was when some of them asked for release time to grade this test and were given only one day for the entire year. They were informed that they could give up a UPO day to grade.
Personally, I do not think this test has any educational value for our students, especially compared to the content they