An Ode To The Big Tests

Jose Vilson Jose 9 Comments

Here’s to you. Here’s to the students who will be pelted with Scantron sheets and test booklets emblazoned with the shape of New York State, a place they’ve explored so little. Here’s to the students who, after 140 days of mixed concentration for varied reasons, will be asked to focus all their energies on answering 50+ multiple choice and 9+ extended response questions they’ll have to take over the course …

Draft of a Letter to the New York State Board of Regents 2011

Jose Vilson Guest Posts, Mr. Vilson 6 Comments

To Whom This May Concern: Anytime I get the opportunity to score the New York State Mathematics Exam, whether as scoring leader, table leader, or part of the scoring team, I try to ingest the super-technical rubrics and guidelines in order to be the best scorer possible. Every time we sit through the trainings, whichever end I sit on, the sea of groans often shakes the walls of the gymnasium …

obama group hug

5 Things To Remember For Teachers Prepping Their Students for The Big Exam

Jose Vilson Mr. Vilson 1 Comment

I have exactly 5 days to prepare my students for the New York State Mathematics Test. 40+ multiple-choice questions, 8 short-response, and 4 extended-response. Cathie Black Dennis Walcott and Co. implicitly put the burner under our butts when they released our Teacher Data Reports a couple of weeks ago for us to peruse and look at the smooth graphics. Fully aware that these reports mean nothing, I can either go …

The Dark Knight Mourns

Rest Elbows on Table, Insert Chin Into Hands (Pick Your Head Up Afterwards)

Jose Vilson Jose 2 Comments

This is the reason I don’t like reading the papers in NYC. They’re either filled with information I’ve already read, information that’s misinformation, or information I just shake my head at. This time around, it was the third. And I didn’t even have my usual sources of news to inform me immediately of Sunday’s NY Daily News, when they decided to publish the English / Math state test passing rate …

Dred Scott

On Making Sense of One’s World Through Inference

Jose Vilson Jose 3 Comments

Two weeks ago, I had the strangest dream where I was back in college on a panel in the midst of a few familiar people, one of whom I disliked for the majority of my organizational career. I remember her spouting some nonsense about the so-called Black Agenda and what we “need to be doing” (when someone says that phrase, it’s usually followed by more nonsense). Within the context, I …

Cartman, South Park

FACK! [Or, 5 Ways To Handle The Day Before The Big Math Test]

Jose Vilson Jose 3 Comments

To new math teachers, this sort of stress only compares to that getting injected with a thin, long needle for the first time or sitting in a dentist’s chair with your mouth full of something-caine waiting for a root canal. You know it’s going to benefit you in the long run just to be over it, but the the closer you get to the moment, the more you’d prefer to …

Because the difference between six and five can be very damned important

The Real Purpose of Math Is …

Jose Vilson Jose Leave a Comment

Anyone who’s ever had to fill in this blank understands my pain: “The real purpose of learning math is _____” I have a variety of answers, but usually, it’s straight-forward: much of the math you learn is applied to real-life situations, and the ability to do it yourself with no need for a calculator makes sure you’re independent of technological devices to a point. Also, even if it’s not necessarily …

Roddy White Touchdown Flip

Doing a Touchdown Dance, Throwing the Chalk to the Floor

Jose Vilson Jose 5 Comments

Imagine spending 8 whole months with 2 hours in mind, and those 2 hours have a major impact on your “teaching” career. You prepare with that in mind. You start with diagnostics, already have your eye out for certain warning signs, keep your pencil sharp, and make sure your lessons integrate techniques to help students when those 2 hours come. The first month’s that honeymoon period where you’re shaking your …

Ill Communication

Communicating The Inability to Communicate

Jose Vilson Jose 2 Comments

Today, I proctored the listening portion of a state exam that determines whether or not a child knows the English language or not. My first instinct with this particular statewide test is that, through my own informal observations, students can pass the regular state exam but when it comes to this particular exam, some never pass it and stay with the ELL designation until they’re finished with school … whenever …


Jose Vilson 11 Comments

Every year, sometime in September, teachers and administrators get a huge stack of papers describing to us exactly how our kids performed in the 2-3 largest tests in the city (for those outside of the city: Math, English / Language Arts, and Mastery of the English Language). I honestly feel sorry for the tons of trees that die on this occasion because 1) once it’s handed out, the higher-ups never …