Wednesday, October 13, 2010


The PSAT. the exam that measures verbal and math skills was given today.  My room was packed.  For the first time ever, all the kids had pencils and calculators.  That should have been a sign something was wrong, but I just went with my good luck.  Everything ran so smoothly too.  The kids even helped me rearrange the weird shaped room we were in to accommodate the 4 rows of 7 seats each.  Even the answer sheets were pre-bubbled  so I had nothing to do but tell the kids where to sit and then read the script instructions.

Remember I said I should have noticed something was up?  The room was full of non English speakers.  Most managed to go along with the program, but one young lady was totally baffled.  I caught her trying to work on part I while everyone else was working on part II.  I told her she had to stick to the one part we were working on and walked away.  Then came the break and when I said pencils down, she stopped for a few minutes and then while my back was turned to let kids go to the bathroom, she began working again.  I immediately stopped her and I told her what she was doing was cheating.  Since she hadn't answered a question, I let it go.  Then, while everyone was on part 3, she went to part 4.  At that time I had enough, made her stop working and called to have her removed from the room.

After she left, another student said, "Ms, she just got here.  She doesn't know any English."  I felt awful about yelling at her but I felt worse about the people that sent this young lady to take the exam.  How could anyone in their right mind expect a student who knows no English to sit for an exam like the PSAT? I know schools are judged by their numbers but increasing numbers by subjecting a child to hours to torture is just not right.

If a child does not have enough of a command of the English language to understand which parts of an exam to work on, that child should not be taking the exam period.  I'm going to find this girl and apologize.  And, I will find someone to translate the apology into a language she understands.


ChiTown Girl said...

Oh, that poor girl. But, I hope you aren't beating yourself up over this. Like you said, it's ridiculous that she was even in that room!!!

Ricochet said...

And I thought our administration was clueless!!

Hopefully she will learn enough English soon to be able to handle what life throws her way!

Anonymous said...

Don't beat yourself up....its the system that puts students ages 9-18 in this situation, not the teacher...

Anonymous said...

What the hell happens when they get into HS??? In elementary school all new ELL admits get tested. Sounds to me she wasn't even supposed to be there and her bubble sheet should have been marked exempt. These students are usually picked up and placed in another room if they get time and a half. ALL ELL teachers should have a master list of exemptions and extended time students too.

Anonymous said...

The administrative incompetence that put you and that child into that situation is the usual callous and cruel stupidity that is part of the DoE subculture.

Be happy that you are in a position to say something about it. The child would not utter a complaint.

You did the poor kid a favor by having her removed.


Angry Nog

Pissedoffteacher said...

The problem comes from Bloomberg's decision a few years ago that everyone take the PSAT. I don't think the admins have the right to exclude anyone, even someone who does not speak English.