Wow, I’m back from a whole two weeks off from classroom visits and everything seems eerily the same as when I left. A couple of students have dropped (one is in juv. detention, the other is switching schools) and a couple more have been added, but mostly I saw the same bunch of smiling faces as usual. Now that a new semester has begun I thought that I’d get more opportunity to really get to know the students as we gently settled back into work…but boy, was I wrong! One day back into class and we’re prepping furiously for a MAP science test to be taken all next week! Ms. Reno said that she’s never administered a MAP science test in 16 years of teaching middle school–and had no idea what to expect. I looked at a couple of ‘practice questions’ given to instructors and was shocked at how difficult they were. The district is AIMING for the students to score in the 25th percentile, with projected improvement to the 50th for the second iteration of the test in the spring. Nothing like telling the kids that they’re going to do very poorly on a test but that it’s ok because the school doesn’t expect them to do well. My friends, science standards truly have plummeted.