Today I had the pleasure of meeting some of our future Rockets when I gave them an Algebra proficiency exam. I signed up to give it because I wanted to make a little extra money. I didn’t realize that it would be as much of a hassle as it has become, but I digress. During the test, I began to consider the situation and thought about the following questions:
- What are your non-negotiable Algebra I skills?
- How would you assess those skills?
- If students don’t have those skills, what would you do to remediate that situation?
Any one of those questions can lead down a philosophical rabbit hole of more and more questions. I am pretty sure that I know what my district will do with the data collected today. Sometimes I wonder if we were better off before big data. It seems like we used to have more conversations about where students were and what we needed to do to get them to where they wanted to go. I hate when I catch myself saying “there will be questions like this on the ACT”. I would much rather catch myself saying “you need this skill so that you can do _____”. How do we get back to giving students what they need rather than what we think they should have – or better yet – marry those two ideals together so that they are the same.