Report from Field – Chris Roberts 2

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12 thoughts on “Report from Field – Chris Roberts 2”

  1. Wow! Amazing! And quantifiable 🙂

    Question about these national exams…it has been so long since these have even been on my radar. Is there a way to give this exam and just use for your own classroom purposes? Sorry. Like I said…a WICKED long time ago we used to “host” this event and have kids from other schools come & it was this big thing.

    I could see myself doing what you did Chris, administering the test just to use for myself, but not in some big competition.

    1. Having been a victim of my own need for approval from others for my entire career, I strenuously suggest that we avoid using national scores on any kind of exam to evaluate our work in the classroom.

      The topic of accuracy of results is just too complex. Comparing methods based on scores made up by companies who are not fully aware of comprehensible input is statistical quicksand, and not something I advise.

      Using the scores for personal use, jen, is probably an o.k. thing but, again, I advise against it. Without going into a long diatribe on this topic, I will make one point. Our children are just that, children. Even our level 4 kids, at 500 hours of CI, are still over 10,000 hours of instruction away from a time when they should be tested in this way.

      Now, if you want to send your superstars into competition for the single reason of helping them have a fatter college portfolio or to be able to show off and impress parents and all that, fine, go for it. But to use the national exams or the AP exam as an accurate assessment instrument of language gains, one that is high in integrity and aligns well with CI instruction, I just don’t think that’s possible.

      The testing truck has always been, is and will always be loaded with about 60% to 80% bullshit, so any results will smell badly and, worse, get us off balance as we begin to think about how good we are, and how with these results we will get the approval of people who don’t matter.

      Only the kids matter, not our higher ups. We get fooled ono that point every day in our profession. With every step down the hallway of the building part of us is wondering how we are perceived by others. For what?

      What are my credentials for saying these things? Thirty five years of thinking that I needed some administrator’s approval, or the adoration of some parents who largely only want the A for their child from me, in most cases.

      I’m sad that I kicked myself so hard to get all those decades of top winners at the state and national levels of the National French Exam and on the AP exams. This year I did allow one child to take the exam, which she is taking this morning ironically. But she just needs to take it bc she studies French all the time, for her. I’m letting her take it for her, and not to prove something about CI, which needs no approval from anyone.

      I wish I could have all that stress and worry and neediness and grabbiness back. That is not what teaching is about. I guess I won’t get the 200-300 years necessary to finally learn what this odd profession is really all about. But I know one thing – I will never let my need for approval from others – in the form of having my kids kick ass on standardized testing – hurt me again. I don’t need to do that anymore. I just need to relax.

      1. I agree with Ben here and I was initially one to think that we SHOULD have our CI kids go and kick ass on these to prove a point, but not anymore. I don’t plan on administering this again, this was simply for my master’s research

        1. Thank you Chris. You’re putting the brakes on a race car that needs to have brakes put on it. Because whenever there is a big exam coming at the end of the year, that changes what you do in each class leading up to it. Which changes the nature of the flow of CI as you prepare for the test. CI and big summative assessments are a bad mix. I’m proud of you for saying that Chris – it’s not something I could have said early in my career. I needed the approval. Like a dumb ass, as I see it now.

          1. I’ll admit, there’s a part of me that wants to go that route, to show the superiority of CI through inferior assessments. But that’s a road that we do not want to go down.

            You can’t bitch about how American education is becoming overly tested and schools are becoming test mills just to turn around and start using standardized tests to promote a methodology that at its core represents the opposite of that system. Thinking about it now, it makes me question my use of it when I’m now blasting the idea. But I needed an idea for my master’s research

  2. Yeah, you can administer the previous years’ exams, which is what I did. I did the 2011 Exam for both years that way it was even more stable as far as the results are. It can’t be said that they took different exams. The percentil charts for previous years are even available too.

  3. This is by no means scientific, but I compared my Grade 10 freewrites (students who have only started with TPRS this semester) to my Grade 8 students who have had TPRS all year. The Grade 8 students, in general, have outperformed my Grade 10 students.

  4. I also implemented TPRS this year for my master’s action research. I agree with everything being said here about testing, but I thought I would share my results. My TPRS kids (average score) outperformed my traditional, grammar-instructed kids by 10.4% on the semester test (not a national or standardized test). I did not change a thing, and there were even a couple of things I didn’t get to. I simply told my kids this year to guess at what “sounded right.” They also out-performed the class from two years ago by about 8%. My first-year TPRS instructed students can also out-perform my German II students on writing ability. It is no contest. This miffs my German II kids a bit, but they get that it’s the CI that makes the difference. They are loving the storytelling now and are happy I switched (so am I)!

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