Thursday, January 9, 2020

Finals Distraction

The week before winter break was finals week. Due to a teacher taking advantage of the break to recover from surgery, I got to work it.

Eighth grade science. They had finals.

I knew Vanessa from that English class that I started the school year off in. She was fine on her own, but she was also friends with the troublemakers, and she could get loud in concert with them.

My job during a test or final is to keep the class silent while tests are being taken. They know that's the behavior expectation, so once they settle in to the test, I don't usually have issues with them talking. When I have to watch out is when the majority of the class is finished while one or two are still working.

Fifth period. Their final was on Wednesday, first thing.

After they'd gotten started, there was a bit of commotion over near Vanessa. She was having trouble with her left eye. One of her neighbors said she had pink eye.

I pushed them to focus on their own finals. I allowed Vanessa to get a paper towel to wipe her eye. And I watched.

(Pink eye? I don't want a student to have pink eye. That's so contagious. I don't want to catch it!)

One by one, the kiddos finished up and submitted their finals. As they did this, I allowed them to keep their computers and play games or watch videos...

Oh, did I not mention their finals were online? It was a nifty little thing. The final was only open for the two hour window of when their class was. Once they logged in, the final locked them out of doing anything else online until they had completed and submitted it. Because it was computerized, the questions could be scrambled (as well as the answers), so no two students had the same test. And the tests could be individualized, like for the Spanish speaking student whose final was in Spanish.

We got down to four students still working. Then three. Then two. Then just Vanessa. Except, Vanessa wasn't working. She was watching the video of the girl doing her hair on the computer of her neighbor...

I don't usually get in a student's face when they're the last one working. They get all the time they need. But Vanessa wasn't working, so I asked her if she was distracted. I informed her that she was the only one still working, and that if she was distracted, perhaps she should sit somewhere else.

And you know what? She moved. She focused in on her test, and she finished it a few minutes later.

Then she asked to go to the health office because her eye was burning and had been burning the entire time she was working on her final.

Thursday we had all the classes. The teacher had alerted me the evening before that she had finished grading the finals. So, when I saw period five, I let them know that their finals were graded and recorded.

Because everything is computerized nowadays, their grades were posted on Parent Portal. The kiddos all know how to log in and review their grades.

Vanessa was in class. Her eye was fine. Which, luckily, means it wasn't pink eye. (I hope she told her parents and they did something about it, whatever it was.)

She logged in and checked her grade. She got 60%. And she was thrilled.

"I thought I got a 12."

60% isn't great. That's a D. One point above an F. But if she was happy with it...

At least she was trying. That bodes well for the future.


  1. If she did better than she thought she'd do, score that as a victory.

    1. Yes, that's always good news when your score is better than expected.

  2. When son was in high school all those years ago, a teacher at back to school night said what does a D grade mean? D - diploma. So she is on track at least for now to graduate :)


  3. Well, a 60 is a lot better than a 12.

  4. I guess that's good news. No pink eye and she didn't fail. What more could you want. :)

  5. Pink eye I assume is conjunctavitus? That is ergh!

    If she'd been in pain the whole test, she did really well scoring higher than she expected.

    Grading sounds different. A C here means working at year level, so most get Cs. You then go up to B, then A, depending how much higher grade your work is, and likewise down to D and E (which are both the equivalent of a fail).

  6. *Face palm* Oh my. The fate of the universe is doomed. I do worry about these kids and their knowledge or lack thereof. :)

    1. It's the age. When I see them in 11th and 12th grades, they are different people.

  7. I remember when 60% was a C- at least she was happy and I can relate. I had a client today who was beaten up by a student...6th grade! This is special needs but she was off for 1.5 yrs because she also had a severe concussion. I was gob smacked

    1. Some of those kids are violent. Did you know that fight videos are a thing? Kiddos have fights and video them and then post them online.

  8. That's pretty cool that the computerized tests could have their answers scrambled thus making it virtually impossible to cheat. Vanessa's lack of pink-eye is the best news about her test-taking day.

    1. Yeah, it's cool that each student could have a different test.

  9. there school now pretty much got rid letter grades

  10. I sure hope you don't get pink eye. Ugh...


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