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: I spent two hours today in a meeting to discuss what to do about issues of placement of students into English classes. Previously, they took a bubble test and wrote an essay, but with mismanagement and budget cuts (by the administration) there is no money this year to pay people to grade the essays. Reading the placement essays is a fairly complicated procedure which requires a lot of experience and training, and if I may say so, we had gotten pretty good at it.

My take on the mess is that we can't possibly get the same results from a bubble test score. For this academic year, however, it's going to just have to stay a mess.

My very big concern is the students who place on the very low end of the spectrum, those with learning disabilities that we discover as we are reading their effort at an essay. We have always referred them for further testing. Now, the office where they are tested has been gutted by layoffs and other piracy by the administration. Today I had lunch with a bunch of the classified people from that office, and they are overwhelmed trying to keep the program afloat. And guess what? More cuts coming down.

I don't see how a person could pre-diagnose a learning disability from a low bubble test score, so what that means is these students won't have a writing sample read by an English teacher until they are enrolled in the class, and then they have lost at least a semester, probably two--a whole year!-- before they are identified.


© 2001-2006 Frances Whitney.