English-Language Learners

A Teacher’s Test Problems

By Anthony Rebora — February 01, 2012 1 min read

Having just finished scoring a batch of state English exams, NYC teacher Mrs. Eyre expresses sympathy for an ELL student who wrote one of the required essays in her native language:

This student was clearly not ready for the challenge of writing an entire essay in English. [That] was someone's decision in Albany, someone who has never met this child or knows anything about what it's like to be forced to sit for 4.5 hours (with extended time) and take an essay in a language one understands well enough to slog through a fairly insulated and well-supported school day, but not enough to write a whole essay with absolutely no assistance. ... I believe in high standards. I really do. But I don't believe in crazy ones.

She also wonders why the reading passages on standardized tests are so dull when “there is so much great and compelling writing in the world that kids might actually find themselves engaged with reading.” Well, we can’t have kids enjoying what they read (especially on a test), can we?

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