[nobe-l] technology for tests, things for parents to know, and a question of my own

Amelia Dickerson ameliadickerson at gmail.com
Sat Jul 24 05:20:39 UTC 2010

First of all, someone asked about technology for grading hand written
tests. I will do my student teaching for secondary social studies in
spring of 2011, so I am certainly not an expert. But, I've been
thinking a lot about those questions for myself. Here are my thoughts-
though as I said, I've mostly done this in theory and not in the real
classroom. As far as multiple choice tests go, I think that's an ideal
sort of thing to grade in class- make the students do your grading
work. When I was in school, it was okay to trade tests and grade,
though I don't know how that flies with confidentiality issues now.
But, you could even have students put away all pencils and have only a
red pen out while grading their exams. I realize that there are plenty
of opportunities for students to cheat in a setting like that, but I
also sort of figure students are clever and will find a way to cheat
if they really want to, so I'm not going to focus my energy on
out-smarting them around cheating. I would like to think I can set up
a trust contract with my students where I will give them ways to be
successful in my class without cheating with the understanding that I
will not tolerate any cheating and that I hold them responsible for
giving me a heads up if a neighbor is cheating or else the priviledges
that come with trust will be taken away from all of them. I realize I
might be very naive in thinking I could get that to work. But I figure
I can also go back and do some spot checking, and if I find an
inconsistency in one spot, it is reasonable to assume there has been
some fudging in previous tests as well. Also, is Scantron an option?
That takes care of it on its own. I figure grading tests in class
isn't just a waste of class time so the teacher can be lazy. It gives
students an active chance to see what they missed and there is a
better chance they'll remember it next time through. Lastly, it gives
a chance for students to ask questions about answers, especially if
they are brave enough to take advantage of that opportunity.
Everything is a teaching experience, right?

When it comes to written essay or short answers, I would ideally like
to think that I can reserve a computer lab on exam day. I know that
usually the IT person is happy to block internet access to a lab for a
period of time. But, if there is no such person, you can probably
figure out which box is the modem and unplug it on your own without
too much trouble. And since I want to be in a high school, I figure
they will all have an email address and can email those exams to me.
No one had replied to this topic, so I wanted to put my thoughts out
there. But, I'd love to hear from veteran teachers about what has
worked for you, because they are questions I've thought about a lot
and it would be great to have an even more solid plan before leaping

Second of all, I don't really have any single thing to say that
encompasses all of what a parent is going through with a blind kid,
but I'll put in one piece that I take from reflecting on my mother's
experiences with me when I was a kid. Keep in mind, I went blind at
the age of 14, with no previous disability or expected disability, so
this is nothing like having a kid blind from early on. But I would
mostly just offer the reassurance that nothing they do is going to
really mess up their kid and nothing they do is going to be the
solution to all of their kid's issues. Every kid is different and some
will need to be pushed to grow a little at certain times and others
will need to be allowed to move in their own time. Which kids need
pushing and which kids need to be left to handle things in their own
time will change based on the situation and issue, so just be ready to
change your approach to things. There is not going to be any one right
way of handling anything, so let go of trying to find out exactly what
that is. In the same way you would with any other kid, support and
encourage them in areas where they shine. In areas where they struggle
more, offer them resources and options, but don't shelter them from
the consequences of not exceling. They'll need to figure out how to
live with their weaknesses just the same as with their strengths. So
there you go, you probably can't really hurt or help your kid's
chances, as long as you are open and flexible and aim high. (Insert
inspired applause here).

Last of all, I just found this email list, so I'd love to put two
questions out there. I am looking at student teaching social studies
in a high school. Anyone else with that experience, what did you not
expect to have be an issue, but that was. How did you handle it? Also,
is anyone out there a blind math teacher without any useful vision? If
you are doing that, I'd love to hear about your experience- I love
math and they are in much higher demand than social studies teachers.
Besides, I already tutor in math and would love to add any resources
possible to my current work.


What counts can't always be counted, and what can be counted doesn't
always count.
Albert Einstein

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