Tuesday, July 29, 2008


We do a lot of testing at work. We test students when they first enter our program, to find out what level they are and group them with other students at similar levels. Then we test them every sixty hours to measure their progress. Some students get really nervous about the testing but most take it in stride.

Some of our students have advanced to the point where the test we use doesn't really measure their progress, since it's designed for basic students. For these more advanced students, Kate has started offering the TABE (Test of Adult Basic Education). This is a test commonly used in adult education programs for native speakers. Students are tested in reading and math, and given a score and a grade equivalent. If they get a grade equivalent of 4.5, that's halfway through fourth grade. A 6.1 is the beginning of sixth grade. I'm not sure exactly how they decide what is normal for each grade but I'm assuming it's an average of some kind.

So, several of my students took this test. They all got respectable scores, particularly since none of them had much of a chance to go to school. One student blew us away. She scored a 12.9 in math! And she only went to elementary school in her native Mexico. She told me she gets really frustrated with her co-workers at the restaurant because they are always using calculators for the simplest things. Um, ok, not everyone has a calculator in their head. It makes me wonder what she would have done, had the opportunity been there for her to go to college. I don't think she's unhappy, she seems pretty content with her life, but it makes me wonder all the same.

In other news. . . we have major staff turnover lately. Seventy-one percent, to be exact. That's in the last year, but we have THREE open positions right now, out of a staff of seven. We're trying to figure out why. Kate's been in charge for three years, so I doubt it's her (although she did say that maybe people were just holding out for her to loosen up, and had finally given up hope). Emilie's only been around for a six months or so; I've been around for three. Not sure who to pin this one on. It was kind of fun, though, to throw out that 71% as often as I could throughout the night and watch Kate panic a little each time. Have I mentioned that I'm not very nice?

I have two new tutors this week. I have at least one student scheduled to start next week, and I may be adding as many as five more (I'm hoping to start a new group).

I need to figure out how to prepare students for the citizenship test better. If anyone out there has ever taken the citizenship test, please tell me what helped you the most!


Erin G. said...

I met a guy in Argentina that could make anything out of wood and a few nails using only a kitchen knife. He was amazing and I had the same thought of what could he have done if given a better opportunity. It was sad to see such talent go to waste.

Ariana said...

My dad took the citizenship test a million years ago....I'm sure it's different now but I could ask him. :)