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Posted on December 30, 2012 11:04 am
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Heather Blue
Heather Blue
Reps: 142
Assessment Dilemma
For the last several years, the administrators and the teaching staff at Smith Elementary School have been happy to report their schoolís high achievement test scores. The school district has spent countless dollars on professional development workshops for teachers. Assessment experts have presented valuable information on test taking strategies that bring positive results. Mrs. Madison, who teaches second grade, has faithfully attended all of the information packed presentations. She can now reap the benefits of her new approach to standardized testing. Her studentsí scores last year far exceeded her expectations as a classroom teacher. Mrs. Madison was very pleased with the level of academic performance her students displayed on the end of year exams. Ironically, these latest scores arrived on the same day Mrs. Madison received her student list for the upcoming school year. After reviewing the names of her new second graders, Mrs. Madison became quite concerned. The list of students revealed two last names that were obviously not typical American names. After a brief conversation with the principal of her school, she learned that an expanding business in the area had hired employees from other countries to join their corporation. As a result, new families were moving into the local community to work at this prestigious business. These specialized employees were moving their families into an unfamiliar country and culture in order to take advantage of an opportunity to work in the United States. The principal informed Mrs. Madison that these new students coming to Smith Elementary would be hearing the English language for the first time. The determined principal also relayed to Mrs. Madison the importance of maintaining their schoolís reputation of producing high test scores. Mrs. Madison was now facing an unfamiliar task of teaching ESL (English as a Second Language) students and upholding high standardized assessment scores.

Questions:
1. Is Mrs. Madisonís assessment dilemma an unfamiliar situation in todayís educational system?
2. Was the principal of Smith Elementary School asking too much of Mrs.? Madison?
3. How could Mrs. Madison prepare for her new ESL students?
 
     
     
 
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Solution 1
Posted February 10, 2013 10:06 pm

London Ritchie
London Ritchie
Reps: 47
Mrs. Madison's assessment dilemma is not an unfamiliar situation in today's educational system. There are schools all around the United States that have new cultures move into exiting neighborhoods. The principal of Smith Elementary was not asking too much of Mrs. Madison. She is a hired teacher who needs to expect the worst out of different situations. Since she had such high test scores, she must be a good teacher already. If she uses the resources that are given to her she could teach the ESOL students just as well as her former students. She could prepare for these students by learning about their culture and trying to accommodate her classroom in the best way possible. An example I would do if I were in her situation is to make fake exams for the ESOL students, so they would know what to expect on the real assessment.
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Solution 2
Posted February 11, 2013 1:22 pm

Courtney Cummings
Courtney Cummings
Reps: 31
1.Mrs. Madisonís assessment dilemma is not an unfamiliar situation in todayís education system. People from all over the world are moving to the United States to take advantage of great opportunities. More and more teachers feel they are not prepared to teach ESL students in their classroom. Many teachers have never had an ESL student and therefore are nervous about how to approach the student and their family, and figure out the best way to teach and communicate with them.
2.I believe that the principal of Smith Elementary was putting unneeded pressure on Mrs. Madison. Mrs. Madison needs to research different teaching strategies if she is not comfortable teaching her new ESL students, and not look at these students as test scores. I believe that the principal has low expectations of the ESL students and that is unfair to the students. These are children that are very young, and have the capability to learn very fast.
3.Mrs. Madison should first figure out what country her students are coming from. If at all possible she should make a few labels in English and the ESL studentsí language to identify items around the room (door, restroom, sink, blocks, book bags, etc.). Mrs. Madison should also collaborate with the ESL teacher in her school. The ESL teacher will have ideas for Mrs. Madison, and maybe even a specific plan for these students. One thing Mrs. Madison should not do is exclude her ESL students from whole class activities. Including these ESL students will help them grasp English much faster. Mrs. Madison needs to work with these students as much as she can, but not push them too hard because she wants them to have high test scores. These students will learn at their own pace and do not need extra testing pressure added on top of learning a new language.
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Solution 3
Posted February 11, 2013 3:51 pm

Kaleigh Thomas
Kaleigh Thomas
Reps: 30
I think that Mrs. Madison's assessment dilemma is not an unfamiliar situation in today's educational system. More people are immigrating here from other countries and so, their children are entering the school systems. I do think that the principal's request was asking too much of Mrs. Madison. I think that she must first teach the students how to speak and understand English and then focus on upholding their high test scores. Mrs. Madison could prepare for her new students by having materials around the classroom labeled in their native language. She could also try learning some words or phrases in their language so she can communicate with them.
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Solution 4
Posted February 11, 2013 9:57 pm

Nicolette Cuthrell
Nicolette Cuthrell
Reps: 25
No, I believe that Mrs. Madison's assessment dilemma is one that is seen frequently in today's educational system. I also believe that the principal of Smith Elementary School may be asking too much of Mrs. Madison at this time. She is now teaching several ESL students in which now she will have adjust her regular teaching methods. The principal must remember that these students are hearing the English language for the first time and may struggle especially at the beginning. Mrs. Madison could prepare for her new ESL students by becoming familiar with programs that help incorporate different languages into instruction. She could research and talk with other professionals who deal with ESL more frequently for advice and techniques on the most effective instruction.
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Solution 5
Posted February 11, 2013 1:05 pm

Jessica Eason
Jessica Eason
Reps: 26
This is an very familiar situation in the U.S. Teachers deal with these difficult situations everyday while they are not easy but they are manageable. I think the teacher can incorporate more time for assessment at first. The students must become familiar with how they will be assessed. The teacher can also research new strategies to help the students progress. Of course, they will not all make high scores because it takes a little while for a students to adapt to the English language.
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Solution 6
Posted February 11, 2013 12:37 pm

Emily Austin
Emily Austin
Reps: 41
1. Mrs. Madison's change classroom composition is not unfamiliar in today's educational system. Even if all the students were the same race and spoke the same language, there is never a guarantee that the test scores will remain the same.
2. Yes, because there will be a language barrier between Mrs. Madison and her new second grade students and it takes several years for ELL students to become fluent in their new language, teaching will not remain the same for Mrs. Madison. She will have to adapt her lessons and teaching style for her students.
3. Mrs. Madison will need to learn some basic vocabulary of the language her new students speak. Second, she can still utilize her approaches to standardized testing however, she will need to adapt them to what her new students will need.
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Solution 7
Posted February 11, 2013 12:46 pm

Alexa Lowery
Alexa Lowery
Reps: 25
Mrs. Madison's dilemma is not unfamiliar in today's educational system. Standardized assessments are a big deal in the school system and are being pushed on every level. It is also no surprise to see second language learners in the classroom. In the past few year in my hometown, LaGrange, we built a new Kia plant and had a large Korean population move to LaGrange to work there. The children of these workers were sent to school, so many of my teachers delt with this same dilemma.
I believe it is the principal's job to have high expectations for the teachers and the school, but this should not put too much pressure on the students or teachers. Mrs. Madison should try to hold the new ESL students to the same standard, but if these students are stuggling to understand the material, extra time must be taken with them. This may mean these students do not score as high on the standardized tests, but as long as they are learning in the classroom, that is what matters.
Mrs. Madison should work with an ESL teacher and possibly take some ESL classes herself to prepare for this new group of students whom she has never delt with before. She must be prepared to switch up her old way of teaching to accomodate these new students. I think flexibility is going to be key for her this year.
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Solution 8
Posted February 11, 2013 2:25 pm

Shannon Taylor
Shannon Taylor
Reps: 25
1. No, Mrs. Madison's assessment dilemma is actually very common in educational systems today. It is very common to have ESL learners in classes today, because it's true that many immigrants come here in hopes of seeking and performing their dream job.
2. I believe that the principal was not asking too much of Mrs. Madison, because she has already attended meetings where she's learning about the ESL students. All she has to do now is apply what she's learning into her classroom just as other teachers at the school will have to eventually do.
3. Mrs. Madison could prepare for the new ESL students by posting their language up on the walls of her class. Also, I've read that many teachers use sign language towards their students because it's easier to communicate. I feel as though ESL learners need to be able to have additional assistance with assignments and after school events.
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Solution 9
Posted February 14, 2013 8:27 pm

Nicole Strenkowski
Nicole Strenkowski
Reps: 50
1. No, lots of people are moving to America to work here and their kids need to attend school just like everyone else. When they get there they will have never heard English in their lives. Schools need to produce high test scores in order to recieve funding and these students cannot read English will affect the scores if they are not prepared.

2.This trend is becoming more and more popular and I think that teachers need to be prepared for it. I do not think that the principal was asking too much because her job is teach students no matter what language they speak.

3. I think that Mrs. Madison should read up on the cultures of the new students and also label things in her classroom to help them. By making sure that there are pictures along with word labels the students will be able to learn the meaning of new words. Also it is important to use signals to communicate. Another helpful approach is to get a interpeter to help the students understand what is going on in the class, if that is available.
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