13 June 2005

What It's Like on the Inside: AP Reading Edition

Today was the first official day of The Read. We trained on the scoring guides during the morning session, which is always the worst part. There are always a variety of troublemakers who want to bring up every hypothetical they can think of---never mind that they'll never actually see a paper with it. Anyway, after lunch, we trooped over to the Ag Hall of the Nebraska State Fairgrounds to begin our task.

There are about 120,000 exams this year. This is what they look like when they arrive and are waiting for us:

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And this isn't even all of the boxes of tests. (There are 500 total.) Anyway, all the tests kids took from all over the world are here after being trucked in from Princeton, NJ.

The boxes are then distributed:

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As we Read, we can hear the creak of the handcart as boxes with completed exams are dropped off and new ones arrive. By Thursday or Friday, we will begin to dread this sound. It will seem like the stream of exams is endless.

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The "rooms" for each of the four questions are really just curtained off areas within the big space of the Ag Hall. Monitors have a few boxes of tests on their tables. As you can see, each box has marks on the outside for questions 1, 2, 3, 4. These are "x'ed" out as the question for those exams is complete. The boxes are rotated to different rooms. Inside the boxes are nine yellow folders. Each folder holds 25 student exams.

Here is a shot of most of my "room":

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There are twelve tables of eight Readers each. We have our scoring guides at hand. The College Board also gifted us with umbrellas this year. Special pencils and erasers must be used, which the CB also provides. Although the CB keeps us supplied with plenty of food and drink, open containers are not allowed on the table. The risk of damage to exams from spills is not one we're allowed to take. (Rumor has it that a kid's test was "washed away" last year when some water spilled on it and the water-soluble ink the kid had used to write their essays didn't survive.)

I should mention that those windows you can see toward the top of the picture represents the area where the PTB hang out. That's where stats are kept, newsletters are generated, and who knows what other nefarious activities. We don't get to go up there.

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The pink things are the actual test booklets. Since we only score one particular question, we read through each booklet in a folder. We have a bubble sheet to record each score, along with our particulars. All of this information is then scanned and tracked.

So, there you have it---the setup, anyway. With all of the training, buddy reading, etc. today, I only ended up doing about 50 books on my own. Tomorrow the real work will begin. Stay tuned for accommodations.

1 comment:

EdWonk said...

We've featured this post at this week's Carnival Of Education.