Friday, June 14, 2013


There was no confidentiality agreement to sign this year on day one of Regents marking so I guess I'm free to talk about the experience.

Two of my colleagues and I from Jamaica High School were sent to Cardozo High School this morning to be trained on how to grade the Global History and Geography or United States History and Government Regents Exams.  Apparently, we don't know enough to figure out how to mark papers on our own and nobody at Jamaica can tell us how to do it even though our assistant principal had the training. Social studies teachers from all over were sent to a few central marking centers to grade.

The people at Cardozo High School were very nice and quite professional.  I have no complaints with the treatment there. In fact, I was elated to see old friends who had been excessed from Jamaica and others who I hadn't seen in a long while.

After we spent much of the morning reviewing how to score, we were sent to computer rooms to take a tutorial on how to read exams that have been scanned into a computer.  Thanks to somebody next to me I actually completed the lesson promptly.  Then, we were sent back to our home schools for the afternoon.

We have to return to Cardozo from Monday to Thursday next week to grade all day.  Now, here is a question for anybody who knows someone at Tweed: If the student test answers have been scanned on centralized computers, and we are using our DOE accounts to access them, why can't we stay in our own schools to grade them?  We don't have the actual papers; we are scoring electronically.  Our assistant principal could have told us how to grade and given us the computer tutorial.  Believe it or not, even at Jamaica we have computers.

We could grade papers from students from all over the city, that have been scanned onto centralized DOE computers, just as easily from a computer at Jamaica as one from Cardozo. We logged in like we do any DOE function. If we were back in our home schools, we would also still be available if our students came in to ask questions concerning other matters or if administration needed us for an emergency.

Is Tweed afraid we might cheat if we were in our own schools marking papers where we can't even see the names? Maybe they are worried that we could play some music while grading.  Administration at Jamaica could make sure we don't violate any rules.

If anyone has an answer, please tell us why we have to use computers at Cardozo instead of using computers in our home schools?

I want to repeat that I am not complaining about going to Cardozo.  I will gladly spend most of next week there but it seems extremely inefficient.  Consider this Mr. Bloomberg: How many gallons of gas were wasted with teachers driving back to their school today after the training?.


TeachmyclassMrMayor(andyoutooMrMulgrew) said...

Not to mention, if they were graded like they get to do, apparently in the charter schools, they would have all been graded already.

Anonymous said...

And everyone would have passed.

MissingMyMusicWhileGrading said...

The answer to your question lies in the multi-million dollar contract that McGraw Hill has to preform this service (another privatization of our jobs the union has kept silent about). There are 22 sites in the city with "specially trained" types (overseers) to make sure the allegations of cheating are kept to a minimum. (the exams are scanned by non-union workers in Connecticut). Given the disagreements we had in "norming" the US History thematic we might find that the next regents is marked in fewer schools. Unless McGraw Hill says no.

Anonymous said...

Hey James, why don't you bike? The mayor would be very happy if you did.

NYC Educator said...

If James were to bike, he might be tempted to buy a large soft drink, and the mayor wouldn't like that. Nonetheless, James makes great points. It's remarkable that James, a lowly teacher, can come up with a common-sense solution that eluded all the highly-paid geniuses at Tweed. Grading for the English Regents this year is even worse, which you can see on my blog today if you're so inclined.

Anonymous said...

I for one and happy, it was terrible how teachers were giving theIR children 65's when they only got 64s on such finely designed TESTS, by non-teaching state personnel who never ever design poor questions.
Why are you giving your children a point-how dare you
we need to hold teachers feet to the fire
This is much better grading system, having teachers read essay after essay on a computer screen that works half the time will most definitely lead to FAIRER grading
Ohh i learned from regents rubric grading (NORMING) dred scott case has nothing to with causing civil war and Jim crowe laws are not "separate but equal"

Anonymous said...

I've been teaching it wrong too. War is peace.

Anonymous said...

Hey, what's up James? I was sent to Van Buren from Bayside along with most of the social studies department. I asked the same question relating to using the computers in my home school. Thinking about it further, we could even grade the exams from home. Imagine how much pollution could be saved if thousands of teachers did their work from home. And the DOE could still keep track of the work done because the supervisors can monitor the work teachers are doing as we grade the scaffolding and essays.

The folks at Van Buren have been very hospitable; the folks joining us from other schools are great! I hope your stay at Cardozo is pleasant. Lots of fine folks there.

James Eterno said...

If you are at home, you might listen to music or something while grading. We can't have that. Enjoy Van Buren.