I've been in Cincinnati for a couple of weeks, shepherding the state science assessment through its scoring. Those pesky confidentiality agreements prohibit me from sharing the most important things I've learned during my time here, but there are some lessons learned that don't come with any legal ramifications.
For one, I am slowly being nurtured to death by the staff at the scoring center. This is not the worst way to leave the world---so I'm not really complaining. I just find it amusing. My understanding is that other states rarely send staff to the scoring centers...and those who do come are unwilling to interact with the scoring staff. Now that the 300 or so readers have figured out who I am and what I'm doing here, I am being regularly quizzed on my interactions with Cincinnati. Have I eaten at Skyline Chili? Graeter's Ice Cream? Did I visit Jungle Jim's? Had barbecue at Montgomery Inn and pizza from Dewey's? (Check. Check. Check. Check. and Check.) I was grilled about my cultural explorations. Yes, I've been to the museums at Union Station. I checked out that Krohn Conservatory and hung out at SummerFair. Sure, I'd go to the opera (if the season had started). Now that I've passed the Cincinnati sniff test, I am being brought all sorts of things: a box of Esther Price candies...a weekend planning guide...invitations to lunch at the Grand Finale...and so forth. If they're taking good care of me, then I think I can be confident that they will take good care of student responses, too.
I've learned that requiring high school students to write some summary statements about a rod involved in an experiment is not a good idea. The term "rod" is just too much of a temptation to digress...and doodle. Ahem.
I've learned that no matter what parameters you use to build a rubric, there will be thousands of kids who dance along its edges and cause you both amusement and lack of sleep.
I've learned that drivers in Ohio are incredibly impatient.
And finally, I've learned that as much as I am looking forward to the job change which lies ahead in the coming weeks, I will miss this part of my duties. It's been a great way to go out.