Education Opinion

The Final Test

By Emmet Rosenfeld — April 15, 2007 2 min read
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I have nearly scaled the mountain. Last spring, from a distance, it looked imposing and majestic. After a more arduous approach to the base than anticipated, and then a harrowing series of ascents, only the exposed final pitch remains. (Note to the casual visitor: This will read a lot better if you check out my very first post, and if you’ve read Into Thin Air by John Krakauer). After two weeks in the tent, subsisting on power bars and boiled snow, I venture from my cocoon. Empty oxygen containers and the occasional frozen corpse litter the landscape…

Okay, enough Walter Mitty (although it has gotten me this far). To complete the National Board process, now that my four-entry portfolio has been submitted, I must take a six question day-long test at a computer testing center sometime before June. What will the test cover?

The NBPTS website offers a 36-slide online tutorial, complete with a number line along the bottom to tell you where you are in the lesson. Let me save you a trip.

• Slide 3 shows a screen that tells me how to move a mouse and scroll.

• Slide 4 makes me swear on a stack of bibles that I won’t tell what was on the test.

• Slide 6 shows the 3-pane screen: directions, prompt, typing box.

• Slide 11 tells me what keys I can use when I type (I think they just forgot qwerty…).

• Slide 13 tells me that little messages will pop up as I type.

• Slide 16 says the u-turn button at lower left is to review my work.

• Slide 18 talks about the timer that counts down from 30 minutes with every question.

• Slides 19-21 talk about a calculator only math folks will use.

Now that I’ve learned to use the testing tools, the tutorial gets into the nitty-gritty. I hope.

• Slide 24 tells me I can have a 15 minute break after 3 questions. Note to self: pee first.

• Slides 25-27 are directions about directions.

• Slide 29 reveals, if I click a little box to magnify… a prompt! “Describe a contextualized learning activity…”. A lesson?

• Slide 32 depicts the screen with a little red stop sign that I’ll see at the end of the test.

• Slide 34 asks me to complete a “Candidate Exit Evaluation.” Nothing in his test became him like the leaving it.

• Slide 36 thanks me for completing the tutorial. And I thank you for completing this post.

As a reward, I will wait until next week to review the assessment exercises and “retired prompts” down-loaded from the web site. Until then, stay warm. I’m off to count my carabineers.

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