Recently in “Making Things Up as We Go Along” (a.k.a. the New Mexico Public Education Department), the brand-new “passing” scores came out for another set of high school “End of Course” exams. The Albuquerque Journal did a good job of pointing out (i.e., laughing at) a previous set released in January. Included in this latest glub, glub in the eternally shifting quicksand of testing are Algebra I, Economics and New Mexico History. Just as was the case with the January release of “passing scores,” the percentage needed to pass this latest set is laughably low. Algebra I, for instance, requires 18 correct out of 37 questions. I’m no Math teacher, but that’s barely 50%. But that’s nothing…New Mexico History only requires 18 out of 44, or just about 41%. *To pass. As in getting credit for the class.
One thing I’ve noticed about all this Making Things Up as We Go Along stuff is it tends to induce high degrees of laughing and crying. Often simultaneously. When things reach a certain level of absurdity, the human mind can only respond by going to its emotional extremes. Screw Joseph Heller, we’ve reached Catch-44 here. We’d almost call it PTSD, but we all know how fundamentally stupid it all is, so instead we’re just ashamed we ever take it seriously. In advanced cases, sufferers report smashed computer monitors and strong tendency to imbibe copious amounts of fermented beverages.
And yes, I am expecting some sort of grant to fund my further research into this phenomenon. God knows I’ll need after my “VAM” score arrives. More about that in a future post, along with more simultaneous chortling/sobbing and/or guffawing/wailing.
One result of all this Making Stuff Up is that the PED’s “End of Course” webpage is surely getting plenty of hits daily. It has to be, as everyone has to check it every day to see what new Stuff Has Been Made Up. An amazing amount of Made Up Stuff can be found there, but nothing quite reaches Catch-44 absurdity like the “Administrative Guides” for 4th/5th Grade P.E. and 6th-8th Grade Art.
I dare you to read both of them and not break out simultaneously laughing and crying. I double-dog dare you to make it through the Art “Still Life” scoring section. For those who need translation help in unlocking the teacher lingo, here’s the skinny:
- The teacher sets up a scene with fruit in bowls and other “still life” staples
- Kids draw the fruit in bowls, etc.
- Two teachers, one being the Art teacher (more than likely) score the kid’s drawing of the fruit in bowls
- Being a Middle School EOC, the scores on the test are COMPLETELY MEANINGLESS to the student, as they are only used to EVALUATE THE ART TEACHER
- Did I mention the Art Teacher is one of the scorers?
There are other signs this “Administrative Guide” was written by folks suffering some sort of opiate-induced fever dream, but it’s just all in a day’s work for the folks Making Things Up as We Go Along. I can hardly wait to check the EOC webpage again tomorrow. More madness from PED means more grant money for me.
*As you probably know, Albuquerque Public Schools is protesting these EoC Exams in that they are not tying them to passage of the class. PED is mad about that. There is pouting involved. Threats are being made about taking balls and going home. Whimpering is also being heavily employed.