Education

Benchmark Overload

By Stacey Decker — May 31, 2007 1 min read

Epiphany in Baltimore, a high school English teacher, is fed up with the “benchmark” tests he is supposed to administer to students in preparation for the state’s High School Assessments (HSAs). The system, he says, is an inefficient mess:

The benchmark tests have been nothing but the recycling of HSA questions already released on the Maryland State Department of Education website. Basically, the [Baltimore City Public School System] is spending nearly a million dollars to a company to recycle and repackage questions into benchmarks for the students of Baltimore, something that any teacher worth his snot has already done. It's a ludicrous waste of money and resources.

To make matters worse, even though students took the HSAs last week, Epiphany says teachers are now being required to administer a benchmark test as a final exam. He’s hoppin’ mad:

[T]hat means that the last day of regular classes ... will be taken up by giving this [expletive] benchmark that is supposed to be preparing kids for a test that THEY HAVE ALREADY TAKEN! ... For the city to require these benchmarks AFTER the actual test has been taken, instead of actual classroom instruction, is simply terrible. ...
I’m so sick and tired of dealing with incompetent people who think that teachers just don’t care enough to care about this sort of thing. I’m tired of not fighting harder, of placating in any way ... The poorly-organized and educationally-unsound program just reeks of pushing papers instead of teaching kids, and that’s more tragic than any sort of low test score results could show.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Blogboard blog.