Saturday, April 05, 2008

Chicago 8th graders become better writers

This report from Chicago Public Radio is great news. It brought back memories of sitting for the 8th Grade writing exam for IGAP or the Illinois Goals Assessment Program. Though surely this wasn't the first time taking a writing exam, I just don't remember that first time.

If I remember correctly the you didn't have a choice in what type of essay you wrote, although I no longer remember what that was. Then they give you a choice in what type of essay you wrote for the next test. You can write a persuasive, expository, or a narrative essay. I found a basic idea of IGAP writing definitions here. Although these days it's my understanding that students take the ISAT now.

Anyway it was often that I would clash with my eighth grade teacher. I just wasn't his favorite student, and he was mostly about business. The business of making himself look good or at least that's how I see it now.

When he took of my essay and probably read only the first paragraph or first page he had something to say and pointed me out to the rest of the class predicting that my score wouldn't be good. Though to be sure I knew that it wasn't my best effort and my goal was to do better the next day on the second portion of the essay test. A humbling moment, however my reaction was still whatever as it wasn't very embarrassing for me

One way to look at it in those days could be that he knew what I was capable of and my grades were never reflected in that. He certainly was of the school of the carrot and a stick. Certainly looking at it, that guy probably wasn't a very good fit for me. It probably showed in the grades and that's not to say those grades wouldn't have been the best anyway. Thinking of my time in CPS he would be the worst of it to me.

I'm not certain what the scores were on the IGAP essays because the results were never brought to my attention. What is known for sure was that when I went to high school my writing on the IGAP essay test gave me some awards certificates. It certainly gave me some props from some guys who probably didn't fare as well.

BTW, it was often that I checked school performance on not only the IGAPs but also the Iowa tests. My high school was one of the worst and my former elementary schools were about average if not above average. It's safe to say my results were for the most part far above the average results of the students at my high school.

Anyway seeing that CPR report brought back some interesting memories.

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